5 Action Sports Photography Tips

Taking photographs of sports events is always a challenge due to the action that happens during the game or competition – that is why sports photographers are always deemed to be on-the-go and always prepared. Due to the work it demands, not everyone who aspires to be a photographer can also consider specializing in sports. However, for those who are qualified, here are some sports photography tips that might come in handy:

Tip No. 1: Never get Caught up in the Game!

The first rule in sports photography is never be caught up in the game. As a photographer, one is not in the event to watch or to root for his favorite team – instead, he is there on duty and is expected to get winning shots.  The consequences are the same anyway, one team loses and the other one wins but what’s important is that the photographer got to capture those highlighted moments in the game. Another basic rule is to actually know the game one is covering. When one understands what is going on with the game and is actually recognizable of the players in it, it will be much easier to take shots because there will no longer be the adjustment period and therefore, there are more photographic opportunities.

Tip No. 2: Use High ISO

One of the technical rules in sports photography tips is to use high ISO. The logic behind this is to let the photographer shoot at a higher shutter speed and therefore have a greater chance in taking the perfect shot. Most professional sports photographers use 1/1000 of a second as their shutter speed to be able to stop motion.  By using a high ISO, not only is the shutter speed adjusted but it also simultaneously allows the camera to absorb more light, which is also a significant element in all type of photos. Furthermore, using flash is not encouraged in sports photography and can only be used if needed. Most sports events do not allow flash photography as this can cause distraction to players – and also cause distress to their coaches. However, sports such as basketball and other indoor sports are exempted from the rule but on-camera flashes are still prohibited. To be certain about the rules on flashes, it is best to approach the coach or the management before shooting a sports event.

Tip No.3: Use Telephoto Lenses

Not all camera lenses are appropriate for sports photography. A photographer necessarily uses telephoto lenses because in sports photos, it is usually required that the subject fills the frame and one cannot do that if he is shooting from a distance. For big sports events such as those in a national setting, a 400 mm or 500 mm telephoto is used as the standard. A 200 mm or a 300 mm lens will be acceptable for smaller venues because the photographer has better access to the game. Additionally, when shooting sports, one could leave the tripod at the studio for it has no use in such event. Using a tripod will restrict a photographer’s movement and will end up producing lame and stiff shots – a big No-No in sports photography.

Tip No.4: Never Disregard the Surroundings of the Game

Another tip is to never disregard the surroundings of the game. It could either be a stadium or a football field or even a bleacher full of cheering fans – it doesn’t matter as long as they are material to the game itself. When a photographer includes the surroundings, it helps capture the actual spirit of the game without solely focusing on the sports event itself. And lastly, the most simple among the basic sports photography tips is to never forget to include the ball or the instrument used in the game as this is a compositional element. It could add more emphasis on the sports itself.

 Tip No. 5: Have passion for both sports and photography!

The key in achieving superb sports images, just like in any photographs, is to actually have the passion for the subject that one is focusing on. If the photographer is not a sports-enthusiast, the chances are he won’t be able to deliver good photos. In considering sports photography as either a career or hobby, it is best to be passionate for both sports and photography.