Tips for shooting sports

The game-winning shot at the buzzer. The player crossing home plate for the go ahead run. The dash for the finish line to make the podium. Being in the right place at the right time can make or break your sports photos.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the sport, how do you know where to stand? Or what lens to use? Some tips for winter and spring sports:

Basketball – If you’re limited by lens length, underneath the basket is an ideal spot. With a 50 or 80mm lens, shoot layups, rebounds and passing shots. Longer lenses allow you to move to the corners, out of the referees’ way.

Softball & Baseball – The dugouts provide a safe and advantageous place to shoot from. Stand in the first base dugout for right-handed batters, base runners and home plate shots. The third base dugout is better for pitchers and left-handed batters.

Track – Take advantage of races and events during the day for better lighting and using longer telephoto lenses that aren’t expensive, fast lenses (i.e. 2.8 lenses). Stand at the end of races and field events like the long, triple and high jump to capture faces and the action.

Bonus tip: For more suggestions, what lenses and settings to use, see our guide to winter and spring sports photography. (Also, ask your Balfour representative about a poster-sized copy of this for your classroom.)

Four Balfour university yearbooks named ACP Finalists

The Associated Collegiate Press named four Balfour publications Yearbook Pacemaker Finalists, Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Baylor University, North Carolina State University, Texas Tech University and The University of Miami were four of the 11 colleges selected for their 2016 yearbooks.

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Organize the camera closet

“A place for everything, everything in its place.” This old adage is fitting when it comes to camera closets. To provide stress relief, have a system for organizing and checking out equipment.


Have an identification system. Whether your school has an ID system or not, it’s essential to have a simple way to ID each camera and lens. Consider specialty camera straps in various patterns or colored Velcro straps. Add the camera type to the color ID to help distinguish bodies, e.g. 70D Red, 60D Orange.

Designate separate areas for bodies and lenses. Preferably, have a separate area marked for each camera and lens, marking off the areas with tape or markers. If you prefer, have camera kits that include the camera bag, body and specific lenses that belong together.

Label each area clearly. This will make it obvious when a camera is not in the closet.

Have a check out system. Have students fill out a check out form indicating what equipment they’re taking and the date. Include a disclaimer on the form that makes clear the student is financially responsible for the checked out gear. Make sure to have them sign and provide their phone number. Have them mark the return date when equipment comes back.

Place staffer name cards in the designated area for equipment used. Write students’ names on magnets, cardstock or clothespins. Place the name card in the empty area to indicate which student has checked out the camera. This will provide a clear visual of who has what equipment checked out.

Bonus tip: A check out form makes it easier to track which student has what camera. Adding the cell phone number also helps when staffers are late to bring back equipment.

JEA selects two Balfour advisers as Rising Star recipients

Two Balfour advisers, John Horvath and Tim Ryckman, were named 2017 Rising Stars by the Journalism Education Association, Thursday, Jan. 26.

The Rising Star award honors student media advisers who have completed five or fewer years of advising and have shown “exceptional promise as an adviser and in service to the profession.”

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JEA honors Balfour adviser with national award

The Journalism Education Association recognized Leland Mallett, Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas as a yearbook Special Recognition Adviser in their Yearbook Adviser of the Year program on Monday, January 23.

Leland Mallett began his teaching career in Big Spring, Texas, a small rural community in west Texas. There his publications won three state awards. After seven years, however, he was offered a position at a new school in Mansfield, Texas that he couldn’t refuse.

Even though he only had four girls in yearbook and six students in newspaper (none with experience), “they had heart and an incredible work ethic,” Leland said. The fresh start paid off, when the second volume of the Legacy yearbook won a CSPA Crown and was a NSPA Pacemaker finalist. “It was the first national award for me and for Legacy,” he said.

According to Leland, whether students are scheduled for yearbook, photo, newspaper or Journalism I, they are contributors. “It doesn’t matter what their schedules read, they are all storytellers. That’s still our motto today.”

After only four years, the program grew to more than 85 students in newspaper, yearbook and photo. Then broadcasting was added to the curriculum. Ultimately, the program needed a second teacher. In 2010, Rachel Dearinger joined the team as the broadcast and Photo I teacher and the co-adviser of the yearbook.

Leland Mallett has been recognized as a teacher and adviser, winning state and national awards: Legacy HS–Teacher of the Year (2010); ILPC–Edith Fox King Award (2012); Texas PTA—finalist for Teacher of the Year (2013); Texas Association of Journalism Educators–Trailblazer Award (2013); Dow Jones News Fund–(2015); Max Haddick UIL–Texas Adviser of the Year (2015); Journalism Education Association—Yearbook Special Recognition Adviser (2016).

In addition to advising the print and online publications at Legacy, Leland shares his expertise by teaching at workshops, seminars and conventions from Orlando, Florida to Sacramento, California. To reach an even larger audience, he has written articles on scholastic journalism and journalism education for Balfour in Elements magazine and on JEA’s digital media site.

Since winning national recognition in their second year, Legacy’s yearbook, newspaper, and its students have accumulated accolades: Silver and Gold Stars from ILPC (Texas), Gold Medalists, Gold Circles, Silver and Gold Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association; All-Americans, Pacemaker finalists, Pacemakers and Best in Shows from the National Scholastic Press Association.

The awards and recognition aside, the students are most important to Leland and he is important to them. Just ask them.

“It’s really awesome that he’s here to teach us what he know,” yearbook staffer Ashton Williams said. “I appreciate how open he is with us as a mentor and a friend. He’s awesome. He’s definitely my favorite teacher. I wish more of my teachers were like him.”

His No. 1 priority, however, is his family: his wife Harmony and his children Ryland (9th grade), Raylee (5th grade), Reese (4th grade) and Riker & Remus (cats). To create an amalgam of home and school, Ryland joined the yearbook staff as a photographer. Follow Leland on Facebook and discover his weekend, summer and vacation adventures with his family.

Leland is always soft spoken but always heard because of his impeccable character, and his professional and personal integrity. Congratulations, Leland, for this well-deserved recognition as a JEA yearbook Special Recognition Adviser.