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Expert Tips on Taking Better Sport Photos

Those one-of-a-kind sports photos you see don’t happen by accident, or just because the photographer was in the right place at the right time. If you’re serious about sports photography, then you need to do more than show up a sporting event with a camera. You might luck into a nice photo that will earn you a few compliments. But if you use these tips, you’ll be taking great photos at your next sporting event that will really get you noticed!

Preparation is key
Know or learn about the sport you are photographing. You must know what the point of the game is, as well as what is considered an excellent performance. Research the game and the players, find out who is most likely to have a big impact on the game.

Make your own luck
Of course there is luck in sports photography. But more often than not, luck is made by the photographer. Sport photographers very rarely miss an important moment because they are always looking for the unexpected. They anticipate the winning move or defining moment and they make sure they are in the right place to capture it.

Setting the scene
It’s always worth considering photographing aspects other than the game. Look for the crowd showing anticipation beforehand and the joy or disappointment afterward. There are always so many emotions on display.

Position is key
It depends on what the sport is and how you want to cover a game. Photographing soccer or football and you want to cover both teams? Try roving. Following the play as it happens running up and down the sideline, ideally in front of the play. You’ll have the opportunity to get closer to the play. The other option is to stay static at one end and maybe change at half time depending on the coverage you’re looking for. Most importantly shoot from low to empower your subjects. It’s worth investing in a pair of knee pads. 

This is what makes a good sports picture a great one. Try to keep your backgrounds clean and as straight as possible. Tacky signage boards are a common theme in sports photography, but try to avoid them. Or open up your aperture to ensure they are out of focus.

Focus Modes
Remember that as your subject is moving you need to change the focus mode. Your camera from needs to know to constantly track your subject as you shoot.

Sometimes the best way to illustrate a sport is not capturing it with a super-fast shutter speed. Sometimes it’s better to drag the shutter. It’s easy to make this mistake when photographing motor sports. Cars tend to look like they are standing still if you photograph them head on at 2000th of a second. You can’t see any movement. Instead, try photographing them from the side at a 15th – 60th of a second depending on the subject’s speed, and pan with it. You will then capture the movement of the background or the wheels of the car.

The aim of sports photography is to produce exciting images of the event. Try to use a longer lens from to get that powerful looking sports shot. If you don’t have a massive 400mm zoom, wait for the action to come to you or maybe think of sports that you don’t need a huge lens to photograph. For millions of fans, watching their favorite teams fight inspires them in their day-to-day lives. Your photos can have a similar impact if you follow these tips.
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