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Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro

Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro

Capturing the action of an exciting sports event, whether it’s football, skiing, tennis, swimming and everything in between, is an exhilarating feeling for a photographer. A single frame capturing a single moment tells some of the most compelling stories better than any video ever could. But how can you get those shots we see in the magazines and newspapers? We’ll give you tips on how to dramatically improve your sports photos!

Get Down and Dirty

Like they say in real estate, location is everything. For sports like soccer and hockey, the ground is where the ball, and therefore the action is. It’s also the way to put players in larger-than-life proportion. By angling your camera up, you put them on a pedestal creating the “hero pose”. Shooting up at an angle gets you more into their eyes. When shooting, be original and try something different. Look for as many new ways to approach the shot as possible.

Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro

Go Up & Above

An aerial view creates an unusual perspective and a neutral background. It also eliminates visual obstacles like nets, poles, and other people. Shooting from above also gives photos a kind of clean open space. If you don’t have a DJI Drone from, some stands are high and steep enough to get a good shot. For events such as volleyball, a ladder will often do the trick.

Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro


To capture the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat, stick around. These post-game shots can really sum up the story of the whole game. Make sure you get shots of players and coaches from the winning and losing teams. Sometimes the fans’ reactions make for the most emotional images.

Capture the Fans

The fans are part of the game, just like the coaches, cheerleaders and officials are part of the game. When the crowd is at a distance, use a telephoto lens from to isolate the faces whenever possible. If you can get close to the crowd shoot with a wide-angle lens. That gives you a different perspective because it’s like you’re right in their face.

Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro

Eliminate Distractions

Find a background that is the least distracting. You want your subject to be obvious to the viewer.

Friday Night Lights

Pay attention to the lighting conditions and work them to your advantage. The golden hour when the sun is low in the sky is of course a great time. But obviously, you can’t choose the timing of the game. So, if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, put your subject against a darker background. Keep shooting even if its cloudy, rainy, or snowy letting the action speak for itself. Play the light remembering that good front light is also good backlight. There’s just something about getting that picture of a player flying through the air dunking the ball, a photo finish of a 100-meter dash and even a grand slam hit in a little league game. These tips will help you create professional looking photos of any sport.

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