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Photo Spotlight: Tips for Taking Great Professional Sports Photos!

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Sports photography is an ever growing field in the art form of photography. You have to know how to get action shots, interview shots, and even posed shots when appropriate. It truly takes work to capture all that sports entails in a single picture taken by any great sports photographer.

There are tips to assist you in learning to take great sports photographs. This involves knowing information about the sport and knowing information about photography. With practice and studying, you can become a great photographer in no time. Continue reading below for tips and tricks for great sports photos.

Sports Photo Tips for Beginners


No matter the type of photography you are engaging in, it is always important to have backup equipment. For every great professional photographer this is the most important rule to follow.  It doesn’t matter if you are photographing a wedding or shooting the Super Bowl, all the best photographers have backups of their backups.  It is always possible for something to stop working or for something to break. For this reason, make sure you have plenty of extra supplies. Be sure to grab extra cameras, lenses and flashes.

A camera malfunctioning is just part of something going wrong. There are many things that could go wrong though when shooting sports photos. A game could be postponed or there could be bad weather, for example. You should always be prepared no matter what could go wrong though. You need to look as professional and organized as possible, especially when under pressure.

You should know that a sports game has many potential shots to take. If you are shooting alone though, it is not possible to capture every single thing that may happen in one game. You should decide what are the most important moments to capture via photograph. Try to seize those moments and truly make those photographs the best possible.

It is important to remain focused in order to get these great photographs. Keep your head in the game of photography, so to speak. Take photos and do not become overwhelmed or nervous. You will have great sports photos in no time when you are focused on specifically what you want.

Mental Game: Be Prepared

You should know and feel capable in your own sport first. That sport is photography. You should remain confident in yourself and in your abilities. This will produce the best results, especially if you practice and overcome.

It is also important to know the sport that is being played. You should know what the important moments are of this sport so you can capture as many of those moments as possible. Capture slam dunks if you are photographing basketball, for example.  Know the game inside out.

There will be many important moments throughout a game of a certain sport, however, no matter the sport. You should, as mentioned previously, remain as focused as possible in order to get as many of those moments as possible. Take pictures almost constantly to get as many angles and shots as possible.

Sports photography is hard work. It takes a lot of action and strength to get through a sports game. There are hundreds of photos that can be taken in one, single game. It is important to not give up though! It will all become worth it.

You should know that any part of the game is important. Things may go wrong during the game, and even these moments could be important to capture. You never know when your photographs may be featured online or in the news.  You never know when the next big play or moment will happen on the field.  You have to always be ready during the game.

Technical: Lenses and Settings

A long lens is the best lens to use. These lenses capture action and are much faster. Sports are action packed, so need fast photographs.

One of the best lenses for sports photography is the 135mm F2 from Canon. It is able to capture fast and action-packed moments that may be seen in a sports game. You should know that there is no zoom, however.  And feel free to go longer.  200MM and longer is recommended for sports.

Keep a close eye on your shutter speed no matter what camera you use. The best shutter speed for action is 1/250. Do not select a shutter speed lower than this unless you are looking for pan-like photographs.

High ISO is also necessary for sports photography. ISO can be a frightening setting to work with. Do not be afraid of it though! A high ISO will keep your shutter speed as high as it should be.

The settings listed above are great for taking action-packed photography. You should try to make your images as focused as possible as well though. You should use drive mode and AI focus in order to get a clear focus. You should also take as many pictures as possible as you are sure to have at least one focused image out of every few.

You will take thousands of photos when engaging in sports photography as mentioned above. Your memory card will probably fill up very quickly.  Bring extra memory cards as well so you do not run out of space.

Last Minute Tips

Practice makes perfect. That saying may sound cliche, but it is so true, especially in the field of sports photography. Sports photography requires many different settings than you may be used to working with. It requires practice in order to get the perfect, action-packed image for a sports game. Continue practicing!

You will not be perfect when you first begin sports photography either. These imperfections will probably make you want to give up. Do not give in or give up though. You will become better and more experienced with continual practice. You will eventually become the sports photographer you want to be when practicing without giving up. You will not be perfect overnight.

You may tell by now that sports photography is a challenging field of photography. Do not let this deter you though. It is also a very fun, exhilarating and exciting field of photography. You get to capture action, excitement and motion like no other field of photography does. You are in the heat of the game, whether the game of photography or the sports game, when engaging in. sports photography and all of its joys.  And you often get the best seat in the house!

Final Thoughts

Sports photography is not for the faint of heart. It is a challenging field that requires practice and motivation. It is important to understand the photography technicalities required as well as the sports you will be photographing in order to become the best possible sports photographer.

You are able to succeed greatly when becoming more experienced in sports photography. Be sure to read up on the settings to get the best images and the details and rules of the best moments of sports. Challenge yourself in ways you have not before by becoming a sports photographer.

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