Sports photography is not the easiest genre for a beginner photographer. Apart from having special gear for shooting sports, a person who documents the event must know the rules of the game they shoot and choose the perfect location like a pro.
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This article lists essential tips on sports photography that will be useful both for beginners who are interested in this genre and more experienced photographers who want to try their hand at shooting sports.
Not everyone knows this, but stock photography websites also have editorial images from events as many media and blogs buy news photos on stocks. If you practice photography long enough and feel confident about your images, you can consider becoming a contributor with your sports photography.
1. Use the right lenses
While you can compromise on your lenses when you shoot other genres, it’s more complicated with sports photography. On most occasions, you will stand far away from all the action taking place, and to take the shot, you will have to zoom in.
You can’t do this with a prime lens, and not every zoom lens is suitable for sports photography. The best option is to use telephoto or super telephoto lenses with 100-400 mm focal length.
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2. Shutter speed is your priority
When you shoot activities and fast-moving people, you need to use really fast shutter speeds to capture action. A fast shutter speed doesn’t let a lot of light through a lens, meaning you will have to adjust your aperture and ISO level.
Adjusting aperture might be tricky since wide apertures create a shallow depth of field, which leads to a blurred background. Sometimes you should opt for shutter priority mode instead of fully manual mode so that you are not distracted with adjusting each of the settings responsible for the correct exposure.
3. Don’t use flash
A flash is a no-no for sports photography. Even if you never use an external speedlight instead of your built-in flash, it won’t help you with making a scene lighter. That is simply because you are far away from the action. Using your flash will lead to overexposed images and might simply distract sportsmen, which is why you need to work with natural lighting conditions when you shoot sports.
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4. Change your angle
Beginner sports photographers make the same mistake of documenting the whole event from the same angle. It’s understandable because you search for the best position in advance and might get carried away when you find it.
However, you should try to change your positions and angles to vary your photos. Get on your knees and shoot low for a change, and you will see the dramatic difference in your pictures.
5. Avoid chimping too much
Chimping is a word photographers use to describe taking a look at your LSD screen to check pictures after each shot. It’s alright to frequently check your photos when you shoot less active photography genres such as landscapes or portrait photography, but it’s not the best idea when it comes to shooting shorts.
There is a lot of action taking place on the field, and when you look at your camera screen too often, you might miss something interesting that’s going on. It’s better to check your images after the event or even when you get home and upload images on your computer.
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6. Shoot in RAW for better post-production
Sports photography often requires editing images after the event. That happens because you shoot with a fast shutter speed most of the time, and your exposure might be not so perfect. What’s more, you will want to crop your photos if there are too many general scenes of the game.
In case you don’t know this, JPEG is a compressed version of RAW format. RAW files contain more information for better post-processing. If you edit your images, learn how to work with RAW format for more control during post-production.
Get inspired by the best and know the rules of sports photography
If you have never shot sports, it’s a great idea to check out the best sports photography pictures to get an understanding which images are the most appreciated. Do your research to learn from the best sports photographers and photo reporters.
As mentioned above, another important thing is to thoroughly understand the rules of the game you shoot. That way, you will know where to stand even before the event begins, what to keep an eye on, and which participants are more important to photograph.
What’s more, don’t limit yourself to shooting only the event itself. After the game, ask players for some quick portrait shots to give your viewers more understanding of sportsmen’s personalities and shoot details for context.
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Also Read: Choose a good device to save your photos.