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Get into the Game with these Tips for Beginning Sports Photographers

Get into the Game with these Tips for Beginning Sports Photographers

It can be challenging to capture the action of a sporting event like football, tennis, soccer and everything in between and get them to turn out like those shots you see in the magazines and newspapers. Sports photography can be one of the hardest forms of photography to master, but with these tips and practice, you will be creating professional looking images every time.

Equipment You’ll need a camera that has a continuous shutter motor. This allows the camera to take multiple photos (or frames) per second as long as the shutter button is depressed. The ability to take multiple frames per second is crucial in capturing the climax in the action. A shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second is required to freeze movement. You also need to have a lens or zoom range that is at least 200mm to allow you to get close to the action.  If you can’t zoom in, you won’t be able to isolate any of your subjects.

Composition One of the things that separates amateur sports photography from professional sports photography is the ability to properly compose an image. The first thing you want to think about is where you are shooting from. For any sport, being able to get on the same level as the players can dramatically improve your images. Shooting from the same level will allow you to capture players’ faces, emotions, and actions better - the absolute key to a great photo.

Background The next thing you should consider is your background. You want to find a background that doesn’t have random cars, people, fences, etc. When you arrive at the event, take the time to walk around and find a spot that is clean, clutter free, and has the least distracting background. Examples of clean backgrounds include woods, sky, empty fields, or if you are shooting from above the field, the field itself can provide a clean background. However, sometimes complex backgrounds like fans in the stands can add interest to an image.  Just make sure your viewers aren’t distracted by it.  A way to insure this is to create a shallow depth of field by setting your DSLR from to a large aperture mode.

Take lots of photos Whether it’s a soccer player kicking the ball or a tennis player serving, once you have your subject in the frame, hold the shutter button half-way down to focus and then hold down and fire away on burst mode! With your DSLR from you’ll be able to see your results immediately.  Plus, there is nothing stopping you from shooting the entire event and having 2000 pictures on your camera!

The best way to learn is to look at sports magazines and newspapers and use them as examples. Then get out and shoot, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.      
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