This article includes several sports photography tips to improve the quality of your photos and help you take better action pictures at games and events. It is important to understand the rules of the sport you are planning to photograph.
The better you know the game, the better your pictures will be. Check out online resources that teach the rules of the sport, the best shooting positions, types of images to look for, and equipment to use. If you are new to photography, then you should spend some time getting to know your camera. Shooting in full Auto leaves you with little control over the quality of your images. Take some time to practice with other camera modes , especially aperture-priority and manual.
The faster your subject is moving, the faster your shutter speed should be. For example, you can get away with a relatively slow shutter speed for swimming, but not for baseball. In general, you want to be in a position that puts your subject facing you. For example, during a track meet you should shoot towards a curve in the course to see the runners head-on. Understanding how shutter speed , aperture , and ISO affect your images is crucial to taking your photography beyond snapshots.
For sports photography, you will usually have a fast shutter speed, a large aperture, and a variable ISO depending on the lighting. Your presence at the event is a privilege. If someone tells you to do something, do it. If you have a disagreement, leave it until after the event for a discussion.
Do not be one of those obnoxious photographers that gives everyone else a bad name. For your own safety, it is best to keep your head on a swivel while at the event.
Checking your pictures chimping or looking at your phone is a good way to get hit by a ball or for a player to crash into you. Leave that stuff until the event is over. Additionally, flash is distracting to the athletes and spectators. Just because most sports photos are taken using telephoto lenses does not mean they all have to be this way.
Use a wide-angle lens to put an interesting spin on your images, and make your viewers feel like they are right there on the court. When I photograph an event, I take about pictures. Out of those, about 50 or fewer get sent to the event organizer, and only about 5 get added to my portfolio.
The point is, save a few of your best shots and throw out the rest. Try to find a pattern of success and failure to understand what you need to work on and what is already working. Experienced sports photographers often cite this, or some variation, as the formula to a great sports photograph. Sports photos can be grouped into two buckets: Look for emotionally charged moments, like a team celebrating their victory or two runners neck-and-neck as they approach the finish line.
You want your subjects to be illuminated by the sun as they approach you. In photography, light is everything. If the light is in an unfavorable position, like behind the subject, then you will be challenged to achieve proper exposure. Continuous autofocus keeps the subject in focus as their distance from the camera changes.
All modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have this ability. See more here on autofocus modes. You must be proactive, not reactive. If you are reacting to action happening on the field, then you have already missed the shot. Learn the rhythm of the sport and look for signs of impending action. If you have mastered the basics of sports photography, then you may want to invest in a faster camera body or a longer lens to take your images to the next level.
A bit of cropping and a few lighting adjustments can do wonders to your images. Fans, coaches, mascots, and food vendors make interesting subjects that compliment your run-of-the-mill sports photos. Make your audience feel immersed in the event by capturing the little details that are too often ignored by photographers. The best way to improve is to practice. Keep challenging yourself to be better every time you pick up your camera. Photographing sports is both exciting and challenging.
As you gain more experience your skills will improve. When you get stuck or need inspiration, you can look to your fellow photographers on the field or on the internet for advice. The most important thing is to have fun and capture moments that matter to you. He is passionate about sports, architecture, and urban landscape photography. Check out Matt's work on Instagram!
Just reading your 20 sorts photography tips has put me in good stead. When I opened it, I was somehow irritated to see one of my pictures e. Even the same subject. But on close examination there are numerous differences in the details. The only difference I could see was one swimmer using a Speedo cap and the other a Head cap.
The one suggestion I would make is to be sure to shoot with enough depth field that the key elements in the shot are sharp. To my eye, some of the images in the article were shot with too shallow a depth of field. In the first shot of a volleyball player, the face of the player is sharp, but neither the hands, nor the ball are.
That requires balancing aperture, ISO and shutter speed, so you get the desired depth of field while still retaining the shutter speed required to get the shot you intend. Some will shoot sports with razor thin depth of field, missing that there is almost always a relationship between the person and the object of the sport. Great athletes aren't what make great images. Two things separate the upper-echelon of sports shooters from the rest: I'll get to practice in my 10th point, but storytelling should never be undersold.
If you have good gear that you know how to use and a good level of comfort with a sport, you can be a solid action photographer. Anticipation and luck are going to give you a good action shot 9 times out of 10 if you have those other things down, but the ability to tell the story of a game or event is a completely different thing. Maybe a player's family is in attendance, or an old coach, or a special guest.
See where I'm going with this? You should have a running list in your head of shots you want to get should the situation present itself, so that if and when it does, you're ready. You never want chimp in the middle of the action, and you pretty much never want to chimp immediately following a stop in action breaks in play are a great moment to find some of those story shots.
Don't let your own excitement possibly rob you of an even better shot than the one you're gawking at on the back of your camera. Chimping is necessary at times, when covering an event for a publication, for instance.
Many photographers are quickly reviewing their shot sequences and tagging potential keepers in-camera so that they're easy to find when they go to edit and caption later. It's an essential part of the workflow, but it should be done with careful discretion. It doesn't matter that "it was such a great catch! The sooner you can accept that you have the innate ability to take really crappy photos, the sooner you can start to figure out why they're crappy and move on to taking really good photos.
I shot my first basketball game my sophomore year of college, and I couldn't have been more proud of my photos. I posted them up on a local photo forum and got the expected "good job! He pointed out which ones were out of focus, how I was cutting players feet off, where I was missing faces.
He wasn't mean, but he didn't pull any punches. After reading his reply, I did one of the most unthinkable things in the history of the Internet: I listened to him. I didn't get mad or take it personally, I wanted to get better and everything he said about my images was right, so I listened to what he had to say, and I got better. We can't improve on our mistakes without acknowledging them, and we don't correct our flaws by accident. I posted the photo below on Instagram a few years ago.
It's not a very good photo. People liked it because it's JJ, but it's not the level of quality I wanted to be at. Never settle when you know you could improve. This plays into the above, but faces are one of the most important things in a sports image. Yes, there are photos that capture such a powerful moment that they can get away with not having the face in them, but I guarantee you that the guys who shot those photos would have preferred a shot that showed the face. Embed from Getty Images.
My shot below is technically better, but the Helmet Catch carries the weight of the moment and is a better photo simply on the basis of the story that is being told.
If you have the ability to move around a venue, use it. Find angles that no one else is shooting. My editor at one of my newspaper internships in college once told me: Everyone knows what the world looks like from a few feet off the ground. Williams , the overhead angle telling the story of the fight better than anything ringside could.
Don't underestimate what you can get when you combine a tight or wide angle with an extremely high or extremely low angle.
Don't stop shooting once the catch is made, and don't ever assume that a whistle means the play is over. Always keep your camera ready, and you will catch some of your most compelling photos. You ever wonder how this shooter or that shooter managed to get the shot that they did? I mean, how could they possible know that the ball would be fumbled and returned 90 yards for a touchdown as the clock expired?
The answer is that they didn't know, but they were willing to take a gamble. A smart gambling photographer is extremely mindful. They know what they have shot so far that day, they know the potential storylines and outcomes from the game, they know who the big players are, they know their tendencies.
The smart gambler is constantly calculating risk vs. You can't teach luck, but you can make smart gambles. Tried and true wisdom from editors across the globe: Keep the action tight, crop even tighter later.
As with all rules, of course, this one is made to be broken, but it is a good rule of thumb and a good thing to have in mind when you're shooting and editing. This holds true for all genres of photography and really anything in life you choose to pursue. You can't get better at something if you aren't doing it. Shoot a lot, get critiqued a lot, correct your mistakes, and shoot some more.
Find new ways to tell stories, and accept that you will probably fail a lot along the way. Here's to all of us improving our skills in ! Andrew is a professional photographer based in Houston, Texas. Texas is better than all other states including Canada. This is why I shoot basketball so much better than baseball.
I know whats going to happen in basketball but have no idea with baseball. No doubt you set yourself up to be lucky in sports photography, but "knowing the sport" is an essential ingredient to the setup. I did not know about the back button focus feature!
What is a good lens for sports photography? I'm guessing for some shots you need a pretty good zoom lens. When I see guys on the sidelines it looks like they all have Hubble Space Telescopes attached to their cameras. Looks like it can! It all depends on what you're shooting.