Learn your camera menu.
Menus are crucial, and screens are often impossible to read in the sunshine. Don't wait until you're outside and shooting before trying to figure out the camera.
Learn how to operate the aperture and shutter speed settings. For any degree of sophisticated photography or anything with a creative bent, you should know how to use the more advanced controls. Everything should be natural to you before picking up the camera and trying to shoot.
Know the sport.
The better you know the sport, the better you can position yourself to capture the best images. For example, if you're at a Little League game and you think there's going to be a play at the plate, you can move around and get the shot before it's all a cloud of dust.
Give yourself warm-up time.
Get to the game early enough to photograph the players warming up. It's a good time to get in sync with your camera. Just like the players, use this pre-game time wisely.
Be a director.
Move your subjects around, and try different things and angles, rather than simply taking straight on shots. You can dramatically change the look and feel of your images.
Become a student of photography.
Look at other people's work. You can learn a lot by trying to replicate the looks achieved by other photographers.
Reverse engineer the more difficult photographs.
If you're trying to achieve a complicated shot, try to reverse engineer it. How did the photographer do that shot? Were there extra lights in it? What was the angle?
Think about what you might have missed.
Before you stop shooting a particular subject, ask yourself: "What haven't I captured?" Can you shoot higher? Can you shoot lower? Can you move to the left or to the right? Can you change lenses or ISOs? Can you capture the action from a different angle and capture something new?
Learn the athlete's tendencies.
For example, if you're shooting a left-handed hitter, you want to be on the third-base side so he or she is facing you when batting. Pay attention to the tendencies of the children when they are up to bat or in the field. Use that knowledge to anticipate and prepare for those great shots.
Think about how you want the picture to look.
With a Little League game, you may not have a lot of choices, but you can create better images by thinking in advance about what you want. Sometimes you can make a big difference with a small change. It could be as simple as turning on the flash in the middle of the day to force the shadows.
Remember, you never know what will happen, where, or when. So stay alert and be ready to move where the action is to make sure you get that perfect shot.
Prepared by Take Great Pictures. For more information, visit www.takegreatpictures.com.