Catchers are a bit more difficult to capture since unlike pitchers, they are facing away from you. The best way to get catcher action shots is with access to the dugouts, however it can be done from behind the fence, but it is much more difficult. We will split this section into two parts, WITH FIELD ACCESS and WITHOUT FIELD ACCESS.
WITH FIELD ACCESS:
The best time to get good quality catcher shots is during warm-ups prior to the start of an inning. With your shutter set to continuous and shooting from between the first baseline and the dugout, zoom in on the catcher and try to anticipate the arrival of the ball in the catcher’s mitt. This takes a little practice, but it is possible. Use the highest possible shutter speed to stop the action of the ball.
Almost always the warm-ups end with the catcher throwing down to second base. Usually there is a call by the catcher to signal when this will be. Could be “coming down”, “Balls in” or some other call to let the infield know a throw is coming. This is a great series to capture. From the same place on the field Zoom in to the catcher and keep the shutter pressed from the time the catcher receives the ball until he completes the throw to second base.
After the innings begins and you have returned to the dugout, stay zoomed in on the catcher. Before each pitch the catcher will look to the dugout to get a signal from the coach on what pitch to call. This is a good time to get a shot with the catcher looking directly at you.
Another good shot is when the catcher visits the pitchers mound to talk with the pitcher. Sometimes he will lift his mask so that would also be a good shot to get.
Anticipate the action around the plate. If there is a runner on third be aware there may be a play at home on any pitch. The best place is from the first base dugout and be ready to shoot on continuous mode to catch the action at the plate.
Always use the fastest shutter speed possible. The sample photos at the top of the page were taken with the following settings:
WITHOUT FIELD ACCESS:
Since the catcher is facing away from you these shots are a bit more difficult and positioning is important. During warm-ups, from the first base side, stand about 10 feet up the first base line and shoot through the fence level with the catcher and with the camera as close to the fence as possible. Use the same procedures as described in the first section.
The throw down to second can be done from this same position or a bit further back from the fence and zoomed in more to eliminate the fence from the picture.
The action shots around the plate are best from behind the fence looking directly down the third base line.