Sports Photography

Photographing sports is fun with unlimited fresh air!

Sports Photo of Skier on High Mountain

Sports Photography: With the advance of digital photography, I see during my research on the web, many more decent sports photographers coming to the fore. To get consistently good sports shots means either having a quick eye and even quicker shutter finger. Or taking a lot of images to get it right. In the past that meant "burning" or wasting a lot of film.

Now with the costs greatly reduced, more and more people are trying their hand at sports photography. Whether it is at a local basketball match or a packed football stadium, the opportunity is there to practice.

The main things to remember when shooting any sports are;

  • Speed: Fast action means fast shutter speeds of 250th/sec and above
  • Apertures: To get fast shutter speeds you will on occasion, especially indoors, need a fast lens of F2.8, for example
  • Camera: Your camera must be fast enough to catch the action. Many “digicams” have what is known as shutter lag, which is a delay due to slow focussing and metering, this may mean missing the shot altogether
  • Lenses: A decent mid to long range zoom or telephoto lens is a must to bring the action closer
  • Wits: You need to stay alert as to what is happening. Try to pre-focus on a particular area where you think the action will happen. This will give your camera less work to do in ensuring sharp images
  • Location: Find a good angle that really captures the action as it happens. How close can you get? What is the background like? Can you get behind or beside the goal at a football match?
  • Focus Modes: Learn to use AI focus (if you have it) along with the different focussing areas of your viewfinder. If not, again, pre-focus on a particular area of action and wait. Good focussing skills are essential for sports photography
  • Composition: Sometimes cropping right in close to get, say, the full, gnarled expressions of a rugby squad in a scrum or footballers face as his goal is disallowed
  • Non-Action: Look for something different, perhaps away from the action. Maybe a shot of the crowd as their home team scores a goal, wins a point or wins the match outright. Remember the famous shot of Gazza (Paul Gascoigne) having his "family jewels" attacked by Vinnie Jones? Definitely taken by a photographer with a keen eye!
  • Contact: Have a list with email addresses of editors from local and international sports magazines/newspapers just in case you get that "one-off" shot that no-one else gets. Could be worth a bob or two!
Sports Photo of Motorcross Bike Flying Through Air
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