Action Sports Photography Tip Number 10....Use A Flash Bracket When Using Fill Flash In Dim Lighting
Tip #10) Use A Flash Bracket With Fill Flash.... If you read sports photography tip #9, you know that fill flash can improve your sports photography quality in dim lighting scenes. To help reduce or eliminate the negative effects of using fill flash, the use of the flash bracket is highly recommended.
As you can see in the photos below, a flash bracket brings the flash further away from the lens, which reduces red-eye, and also for vertical shots, it helps to reduce or eliminate side shadows, by keeping the flash in-line with the lens.
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Many Professional and college sports photographers have flashes/strobes mounted in the ceiling rafters of stadiums, to use as their fill flash. If they are setup correctly they can make the photos look better, but I've seen some that don't look very good or natural, the flashes were too strong and made it so obvious that flashes were used. It is better to use fill flash so it helps light up the photo, and the average person wouldn't really know that fill flash was used.
Since most of us can't get large flashes mounted in the ceiling rafters of stadiums, we have to settle for easier, cheaper setups, like using a flash bracket. You could also setup flashes remotely and fire them wirelessly. Then you could mount the flashes on a tripod or light stand, position them somewhere that will help illuminate the action in a pleasing way, and fire them with your cameras and flashes wireless flash capabilities, if they have it.