Being a sports photographer is no easy feat. Shooting sports is one of the more challenging tasks when it comes to photography--trying to capture movement and vitality with a click is something that takes time and practice.
As you become more engaged in sports photography and learn how to take good sports pictures, you’ll begin to create your own list of what works for getting a great shot. Until then, check out these tips that may help you step up your game:
Sports Photography Tips
• Get to know your camera well. Half the battle in photographing sports is knowing how to partner with your camera to get the perfect shot. Each of the settings on your camera can help you achieve a different photography goal.
• Become familiar with the sport you’re shooting. While this may seem like a given, knowing the sport and how it works can increase your chances of getting a great sports shot. When you know which way the action is moving or when something momentous is happening, you’ll be able to better plan and gauge a great shot.
• Whether you’re shooting at a gigantic sports stadium or simply wanting a great action shot, opt for the good seats. The closer you are, the more you’ll be able to see and shoot. And if you’re the official photographer, make sure you have access to the sidelines so that you can truly get as close as possible to the action. You’ll be able to see the event in ways those in the stands can’t.
• Do your research beforehand, especially if you’re going to an arena or stadium. Some venues do not allow big cameras inside. It’s hard to get a good shot if you aren’t able to bring in your camera! Be sure your equipment will be allowed through the doors or gates of the next sporting event by checking out the location’s website or reaching out to their box office.
• Make a plan for getting a great shot, but also be open to capturing unexpected moments. Sports photography is often fast-paced and can make the photographer feel rushed to get a good shot. But don’t be afraid to patiently observe the event and wait for the right moment to shoot. Shooting sports is more than good equipment--it’s having the eye and patience to know when to use it.
• It’s okay to take your eyes off the field or court and turn to the sidelines. Just because an athlete is on the sidelines, it doesn’t mean he or she can’t be the star of your photo. Sports photography is about more than capturing good plays, it can also be about capturing reactions.
• Pay attention to the light. Depending on the event, you may be shooting in natural or artificial light. As with any photography, this difference can transform the way you go about capturing the best shot.
Shooting Sports of All Kinds
Because different sports move at different paces, there’s more than one way to go about shooting sports. Just as the setting of a football game varies from a game of golf, so do the tactics and practices of getting a good shot. For example, a football game has multiple players on the field and a stadium full of people in the background. Capturing a great shot while players are barreling down a field is much different than a slower-paced or singular sport like golf, where your camera’s focus is often on one person whose movements are somewhat predictable.
Getting to know your sports photography equipment is a gamechanger. Knowing how the focus feature works on your camera is important whether you’re a professional photographer or not, but as a sports photographer, it’s imperative that you recognize how the focus on your camera works. Sounds simple, right? Consult your camera’s guide to learn different ways you can help ensure all the moments you want to capture are sharp because with sports, there aren’t any redos.
More Practices for Growing Your Sports Photography Business
If you’re able to capture great shots at sporting events, chances are people will want to get their hands on them. Whether they want pictures of the great photo you took at their son’s baseball game, the awesome action shot you got at their daughter’s swim meet, or even just a moment you captured of their favorite team waiting anxiously on the sideline, customers want to preserve these moments in a tangible way that can be shown off to guests and family members.
Often customers will want to enlarge photos and order canvas prints, framed prints, or other substrates that can be proudly displayed or given as gifts. Ensure your images look incredible by making sure the players jerseys, logos, or faces are visible. That way your customers will be able to quickly spot the image they want to purchase. They may choose several images, if they’re looking to create a canvas wall display of sports photography.