Sports photography is one of the most challenging fields in the craft. It has to capture the pure essence of victory and defeat among the athletes chosen as a subject. The image should be able to reflect the time spent in practice to the actual performance and the glory of winning and the bitterness of losing. The events in sports photography are not random occurrences and a sports photographer is always at the right place, at the right time and ready to capture a rare moment that can happen in an instant. It takes more than just being present with a camera at any major sports event. You’ll need cunning and a practiced eye as well.
Here are a few helpful tips in getting you started on your way to becoming an accomplished sports photographer:
Know your sport -you have to literally be familiar with the sport you plan on covering. It is necessary that you know more than just the basics of the sport, and ideally be well enough to play it yourself. It’s helpful to know the strategy and the rules of the game to know when athletes are performing considerably well. Knowing the sport you are covering means you are familiar with the structure of the game .It helps to be able to be in the athletes’ shoes and predict what next move is coming. As the saying goes, sports is not just about being physical, it’s a mind game as well. You constantly have to be at the edge of your seat anticipating every move to capture that one in a lifetime moment that could be in the annals of the game’s history.
Keep an eye out for the player that offers more potential to give you the perfect photograph – with everything happening so fast in every sports event, it’s difficult to keep abreast of everything that’s happening around you. Focus on specific players such as the crowd favorites to get some key shots, but don’t forget the rest of the team. Try to capture images periodically in between stretches of a given time. Don’t dwell on the good shots you missed, instead focus on what’s happening at the moment.
Get into the rhythm of the game. Learn to switch your attention from one player to the other. Keep to where the action is. Usually the best photos are captured during these moments. Once you fall into the rhythm, opportunities will just fall into your lap.
Know your equipment – whether it’s a professional sport event your watching or your child’s Karate match, make sure you come already acquainted with your camera. Practice makes perfect. You can learn valuable tidbits by volunteering your services at any relative or friends sporting event. So when the time comes that you’re going to start using your skills, you’ve got a lot packing.
For team sports, divide your attention between the key players and the other players. Every team member contributes to giving you the best images, that’s why it’s called a team sport; everyone contributes to the success of winning.
Be prepared – always anticipate what could come next. Make sure you remove you lens cap, adjust your ISO setting, check your flash, check if your battery is fully charges, clean your lens, etc. Rare moments are just that, rare. In sports events, remember that you are not just a spectator, you may just be there to record one of the land mark moments that makes and athletes career and alter the history of sports forever.
Consider the weather conditions and prepare for either the glare of the sun, wetness of rain or the dampness of dew. Whatever may come, make sure your equipment won’t let you down.
A DSLR camera with a telephoto lens is a must for serious sports photography. A simple point and shoot camera just won’t cut it. It’s mainly for portrait shots and it would be handy for shots before and after the game. Fast moving shots are best captured by the former. A lot of people are frightened with the very thought of a DSLR camera. In actuality, it works pretty much the same way as any point and shoot camera when set in fully automatic. The main difference is, it offers a lot more flexibility in features and characteristics that you won’t get in a simple point and shoot.
Anticipate shutter lag – when you click on your shutter button, it may take a few milliseconds before the shutter moves and the image is recorded. This tiny span of time might cause you to miss capturing that crucial moment of action. Be very familiar with your camera beforehand so you can anticipate shutter lag and compensate for it during the event. It is often most obvious when you’re using the camera’s auto focus. To avoid this, use manual focus instead and half-press the shutter-release button so that the focus is locked on a certain area.
Shoot the fans – the audience is a huge part of the world of sports and more often than not, images of fans can provide a great glimpse into what the sporting event is all about. Whether it is a close up shot of a man rooting for his team or a large crowd in the bleachers, you can capture several instances of energy, excitement and tension.
Sports stir many emotions for the audience. The same goes for the images that you capture. They live long past the athletes themselves. It may well be the very core of an era. This is the type of impact you aim to achieve through your work. Whether it’s victory or defeat that you’ve captured, each image should inspire for many years to come.
Location and timing – luck has nothing to do with sports photography. Being at the right place, at the right time is already a given, it’s how you position yourself and how observant you are when it comes to anticipating what could happen next.
Don’t be shy when getting permission to get yourself in place to capture great shots. The worst thing that could happen is that they’ll say no. But it never hurts to ask. Not all side lines in every sports event is reserved for the media. For smaller sports events you have to learn to know where to position yourself for better access to those goals, three pointers or hole in ones.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 at 9:51 am and is filed under Articles, Event Photography, Photography Genre, Photography Tips, Sports Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Tags: sports photo tips, sports photography