A complete guide to sports photography


Do you want to take the best sports photos and attract attention? Sports photography has enormous potential to capture dramatic and striking shots that will always be relevant. No other field has so many exciting moments, vibrant color palettes, and unique shooting opportunities.

Sports photography is an essential element of our sporting culture. Sports photographers capture the highlights and document the most famous sports stars.

Like sports, it requires skill, knowledge, and practice. The only thing you just have to do is practice. You can check out info about making flyers in Photoshop on Skylum`s blog. This will give you the ability to quickly and easily turn photos into flyers.

Prepare to use a high ISO

Want to get the perfect shot but don’t have enough light? Trying to freeze the moment during a minor league match and need a fast shutter speed? A higher ISO will allow you to use a faster shutter speed, giving you the chance to get the results you want.

Professional sports photographers use a shutter speed of about 1/1000th of a second to freeze the moment. During daylight hours, this is easy. However, at night you may need a faster f-number than the lens can provide. As a compromise, you have to raise the ISO (used to be the light sensitivity of film) of the camera. Now it can “see” more light.

So how far do you have to go? If you shoot with the latest and most expensive models, such as the Nikon D810 or Canon 5d Mark III, you can go for the highest ISO – the picture will still look good. With older cameras, a higher ISO means more noise. However, newer models have managed to get rid of this problem.

Depending on the model, you could also try Auto ISO mode, allowing the camera to find the optimal settings on its own. A unique feature of this mode is that the system doesn’t change ISO in full-fledged steps such as 400 or 800. Instead, it can go from, say, 200 ISO to 210. Keep this in mind if you’re just starting to use ISO settings for better night-time shooting.

Try something new

Every sports photo doesn’t have to look the same. A few years ago, photographers from a small American magazine decided to find something new to photograph football. Instead of photographing at eye level, they laid down on the grass in the defensive zone as low as possible and worked with a wide-angle lens. What did they achieve? They managed to show the game from a new angle and tell a story.

Try something new

Be original when you’re shooting and try something new. At every event I work with, I try to find as many new approaches as possible.

Don’t forget the surroundings

This may seem elementary, but don’t forget that there is also the scenery around you. Whether it’s a stadium full of fans or the surrounding environment, these all provide unique opportunities to capture the spirit of the game without capturing the action itself.

Before the ball is served, stand behind the fans to capture the reactions of real fans.

Don’t forget your surroundings. The crowd is just as important.

The front rows at a basketball game are also a good place to capture team spirit before serving.

Even after the game starts, you shouldn’t forget the surroundings. If you have a wide-angle lens, such as 10.5mm or 14mm, climb up high and get a shot of the whole stadium full of rabid fans.

Take a special strap or bag

When you are on the side of the pitch or right in the middle of the action, it is difficult to run to your bag and change equipment. Many sports photographers use one of three ways to carry their equipment during matches: a waist bag, a belt system, or a special waistcoat.

Photo waistcoats were popular a few years ago (but now they are not practical – you need to carry too many lenses and you need quick access to them. A belt system is considered preferable. Belts with six holsters are considered the most preferred and are easy to reach at any time, varying from large lens pouches to a special flash holster.

The strap system allows me to quickly change lenses and keep all the compact memory cards together in a safe place.

Some companies also offer a sideline bag designed for sports photography.

The key to finding the right one is choosing one that suits your specific needs.

A long lens has to go a long way

The key to getting the perfect sports shot is a few things. One of the most important is the lens. Sports photography, unlike any other field, sometimes requires the highest quality and most expensive equipment. This allows you to shoot from anywhere in the stadium, including the defensive zone in football, creating the perfect shot.

When selecting a good lens for sports photography, consider the following factors:

  • Consider long lenses such as 300mm or 400mm if you can afford them. If not, choose a 70-200mm.
  • Look for a lens with f-numbers of f/2.8 or f/4. It’s best to avoid f/5.6 as the dreaded curse.
  • It sounds obvious, but the bigger and heavier the lens, the better it is.
  • Make sure the lens has a built-in tripod mount.
  • Look for lenses that have stood the test of time: there are certain reasons why Nikon and Canon rarely release new models.

A new quality lens is something different than a new camera body. A good lens, with proper care and support, can last at least 10 years.

Do not engage in chimping

Chimping – is the habit of checking every photo on the LCD back of the camera. Why is this bad? You distract your gaze from what’s going on and direct it to the screen. There are two reasons not to do it: firstly, you increase the risk of injury, and secondly, you might miss a good shot.

When you are distracted by looking at pictures, you stop watching the action. If you are inattentive during a football match, you could be accidentally bumped into!

There is nothing wrong with looking at the photographs themselves, but there is a separate time and place for it. In sports, once you’ve pressed the button, there’s no second chance. You have to move on to the next shot.

Did you take a great photo and want to turn it into a flyer? You can read and find out more about making flyers in Photoshop on Skylum`s blog.

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