Combat Photography

What You Need To Know

Written By: Liz  ďWolfieĒ Miller


            So you want to go out and get some cool action shots of your friends, playing paintball. Ok so what do you need to get those famous shots? Well we will tell you.




            You have to consider what the weather conditions are going to be like. Is it sunny, rainy, cloudy, what? Well first thing in the morning, check your local weather network to find out the conditions for the day.  Then you can go from there.




            Now you know the weather conditions. So you need to check your equipment to make sure that everything works, and that all your accessories easy to find. Itís never a good thing if you canít find half of your equipment. Any kind of camera will do. If you are using SLR cameras make sure that you have a couple of zoom lenses available. Always make sure that you have a couple of spare batteries on hand. Trust me on this one, as I had to force my camera to finish taking pictures, as the batteries died. Also if your SLR camera has a separate flash, be sure that you can find it. You should always use a camera that has a flash with it.


            Something else to consider is cleaning the lenses to remove fingers, and reduce scratches from showing up on your film. If you donít have something go to your local camera store and they can tell you what to use. Never use abrasive paper towels on your lens. You run the risk of scratching your lenses and possible ruining them.




            Now comes time to choose your film. With all the different film speeds out there you are probably asking the question how do I choose the right one. Well for most cases the stores usually have a chart listing the different speed of film and what they are good for. So with this mind consider the condition and where you will be taking pictures. If you already have film at your house and want to know what conditions they are good for, here is a list.


            ISO 100 Ė Good for outdoor/nature pictures with NO movement

            ISO 200 Ė 400 Ė Good for outdoor/moving targets i.e. Sports Events

            ISO 800 Ė Good for low light or bright light for action


            Something to consider with your film is keeping it at the right temperature. If the film is left sitting out in the sun then your pictures will be damaged. Vice versa for if they are left in the cold for to long. Now if you are at field and have a cooler with you, you can store you film in the cooler to prevent heat damage. But when storing your film in the cooler make sure that you leave the film in the film canister and gradually bring it to room temperature before getting it developed. This may seem like its pointless, but always read the back of the film box before you start taking pictures.




            How can I say this without being harsh, there is no way. Always make sure you are wearing your MASK! I donít care if you canít see due to the fact your mask is fogging up. If you run into this, go out to the staging area and clean your lens.


            You should always take at least a couple rolls of film and just practice taking pictures with it, while wearing your mask. The best place to do this would be at home were there are simple things to take pictures of. It will take a bit to get used to, but it will soon come to you after practicing. Remember practice always makes perfect. If your first set of pictures didnít turn out, go out and take more pictures again with your mask on.


            Another item to consider for your safety is identification. Wear something bright so that players will realize youíre the media photographer. Items can be such things as a traffic vest, or a bright yellow t-shirt that says photographer on it. Even though you are wearing your bright identification always be prepared to take a couple of hits. Players canít control the paintball once its leaves their marker. So if you step into the shot donít blame anyone except yourself. If you can get in close to the subject that you are photographing, then also be prepared to have couple of paintballs going flying past you.


Taking the Picture


            Ok, well weíve got our equipment together, checked it over, cleaned the lens and we have the correct ISO film speed. While you are out on the field taking pictures, remember to hold your camera steady. Seeing as to how you wonít be using a tripod out there, you need steady the camera by holding it with both hands. Also a breathing technique will help. This comes from an article that Ghost has written. ďSo breathing control is simple. Take a couple of deep breaths. This will relax you and saturate the blood with O2. When you are ready to pull the trigger, take a deep breath, and exhale half way. Be careful that you donít hold your breath for too long, or your vision will start to blur and youíll have to start all over again. Always exhale the same amount.Ē In this case your trigger would be your shutter button. Thanks Ghost for this tidbit of information.


            There will be lots of action for you to be able to get some really cool photos. Every time you turn around some one else is doing something different that would make a cool shot. So be sure that you have lots of film with you that day. Also take your time while get pictures. But however if you wait to long for that perfect shot, you may miss it. Paintball is a fast action game, so be prepared to move with the game. Another option that you might consider, is taking pictures out in the staging area. Get pictures of players getting ready, hit on the mask, etc. Guys really like to see pictures of themselves at paintball events.




            Unless you develop your own pictures, take it to your nearest store and have them developed. Itís always wise to have them developed after the day is over. Otherwise you will have a lot of film sitting around. I know this for this for a fact, as I just finally got all my pictures developed. Another option when getting your pictures developed is have them put onto a CD. This way you can pass the pictures around without scanning them in. If CD isnít an option then scan them in and send them out. If you plan using them on the web, make sure you use the proper resolution; check your manual to see what they suggest.


Hope this helps you out when you decide to just get some cool pictures. Not all pictures will turn, but the ones that do are always something to be cherished forever.