Sports photography - The basics

February 15, 2017



Sports photography is so much fun to capture, however it can be extremely challenging. Getting a few essential hints and tips and lots of practice will help. Sport photography is where you will capture dramatic action shots!




Many sports will be played in low poorly lit conditions or under incandescent lighting. Sports halls, arenas or outside during the evenings to name a few. A higher shutter speed will be needed along with raising the ISO. 


A fast shutter speed will freeze the action helping to create dynamic action shots without blur. 

Pushing up the ISO will allow you to use a faster shutter speed and give you the light needed without the use of an external flash. Be aware that your images will contain more noise (grain). This is definitely better than a image that you can’t see at all or one full of blur!




Ditch the external flash - it is distracting and prohibited a lot of the time.


A good zoom lens is essential. You are unlikely to be able to get really close to the action. Most sports will have restrictions when it comes to who is allowed on the sideline. You may be lucky enough to get a pass however a zoom lens will enable you to capture all the action from a safe distance. A 70mm - 200mm is a great start!


Set up your camera upon arriving and shoot! When capturing sport there is no time to keep changing and checking that your settings are right or that you ‘got the shot’! For one it can be dangerous to take your eye off the action if you are close, a stray ball or players running in to you can hurt! Secondly you will definitely miss great shots. Shoot continuous in burst mode - top tip, take extra cards to accommodate the hundreds of images you will take!


Try shooting from all angles it’s great to try different things, get low or find a safe place to gain a little height - be unique. 




Timing is really important when shooting sport. Do your research, get out and observe the sport. Getting to know the sport will give you an edge when it comes to predicting potential movement. 


Don’t forget your surroundings, stadiums and arenas are a great place to capture the fans. It is just as important to capture the entire spirit of the sport, not just the action!


Kelly x


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