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How to take Sports photographs

How to take Sports photographs - SoccerSports photographs can be very vibrant and full of energy and as such can result in excellent dynamic photos. If you want to try your hand at capturing sports, it’s best to start out simple. Try a local team such as soccer or GAA to hone the skills – if you have kids/brother or sister involved with sport – most of these teams would love the attention of a photographer. Just be sure to ask permission from the team organizer first, so there are no distractions or misunderstandings.

Whatever the sport is, learn about it and know how to anticipate it. If you can successfully anticipate what will happen, you have more time to plan and frame a shot. Knowing the sport will also help you figure out the best location to shoot from (though in more organized sports you may not have much choice). Sports photos are hard enough to photograph and anything that can give you the edge will help.

Usually you will need a “long” lens – something in the 200-300mm bracket. And the faster it is the better. (see Aperture). F2.8 to F5.6 is ok. Most professional photographers will carry two cameras – one with a long lens for capturing action far away, and the other with a short lens (~100mm) for action that’s closer.

Use an ISO setting fast enough for the light and a fast shutterspeed. Ideally you want at least 250th/sec (see Shutter Speed) to freeze the action. If it’s a bright, sunny day you may be able to achieve this with an ISO of 200 to 400, but if the light is low or you are under floodlights you will need something higher than that.

If you are photographing sports with a ball involved, make sure and get the ball in the photo. Except in the rarest of occasions, like a player reaction, a photo without the ball has no meaning.

Remember the basic principles of photography and ensure light, composition and focus are all good.

Sports - SwimmingWith today’s raft of autofocus cameras you may be forgiven for thinking that you can let the camera worry about focus, but because some sports are happening so fast, even the best autofocus camera in the world can be confused. The thing to remember is that a lot of sports photos are achieved with a fair amount of luck! Sometimes it’s best to pre-focus on a spot that you know will be where the action is – like a runner jumping a hurdle.

If you are using a digital camera be aware of the cameras recycle time – the time the shutter takes the photo to the time the camera is ready to take another photo. If it is particularly slow, you may miss a good picture. Frames per second are important too (FPS) – this is how many frames (photos) per second your camera will take. For fast moving sports it is normal to rattle off 5-6 photos at a time, to make sure of getting an image. So the faster or more photos your camera will take per second can be a bonus.

 

Related Articles;

What Lens?

What Camera?

Aperture

Shutter Speed