7 Tips To Taking Better Sports Photos

Sporting events are such a wonderful opportunity to capture heart-pounding action photos, vivid colors and different angles that are unique to other forms of photography. If you are a sports photographer, you have to be on point every second of the event to make sure you capture each and every amazing shot you can. Because it is so fast-paced, It is so easy to miss an awesome photo and not even realize it!

Perhaps, you are photographing a high school football game, a track meet that is an Olympic qualifier or you may even be lucky enough to be a photographer for the SuperBowl. No matter what type of sport and for what age group you are shooting, it can be exciting and very intense!

Here are 7 tips to be sure you take all of your sports photography like a pro! 

Photo credit: Kathy Williens via Associated Press

Photo credit: Kathy Williens via Associated Press

1. Use High ISO

At many sporting events, whether you are outside while the sun is setting or inside an arena, you may not always have the best lighting. You also need to be sure that you can capture an exact moment in time. There is only one second for you to capture the moment when the bat hits the ball at a little league game so a higher shutter speed will help. Raising the ISO on your camera will allow you to shoot at that higher shutter speed, which gives you a much better chance of getting that perfect shot!  

Professional sports photographers use a shutter speed around 1/1000 of a second to stop motion. At night, you need a faster F Stop than your lens is suited for so you should increase your ISO which allows your camera to see more light. 

Depending on what type of camera you use, you may also consider using Auto ISO to allow your camera to automatically choose the best ISO setting for you and the scene you are trying to capture. 

2. Be Unique 

Try something different when you are shooting your sports photography because you do not want every sports photo to look the same. Try shooting at different levels rather than at eye level. Get shots from above or get on the ground and shoot the players from above. At every new event you cover, be sure to look at your surroundings, the field, the players and scope out the new backgrounds, angles and shooting locations that will be unique. 

Photo credit: Zach Ancell via cruzine.com

Photo credit: Zach Ancell via cruzine.com

3. Remember Your Surroundings

It is not just the players that create awesome photos. To get the full experience of the sporting event, make sure you capture the cheering crowd, the fans tailgating and even the entire stadium cheering loudly. Going to a sporting event is all about the experience and capturing those surroundings are really what makes the entire event so amazing and it will show in your photos! 

4. Be Prepared

When you are shooting in the middle of a sports event, you do not really have the time to stop what you are doing and run to your gear bag if you realize you forgot an important piece of equipment. It is a great idea to use a belt or bag you can carry with you that has extra items in it in case you need anything... whether it be new batteries, a new memory card or anything else you may or may not need. 

Looking for your own photography belt to help keep you organized while working and have all your equipment on you when you need it? Here is one we love! 

5. Don't Take Your Eyes Off The Action

For one, you can miss something awesome or really important if you take your eyes off the action. Depending on what the sport is you are photographing, there is also a chance you could get injured if you are not paying attention. Just think, you are shooting on the sidelines of a football game and take your eyes off the field and players for just one second... you could easily get run over by the players or hit on the sidelines and we just do not want this to happen.

Another time that photographers tend to take their eyes off the action is to double check the photos you have just taken and there is really no reason to do this. Some call this "chimping." You want to make sure that you just keep on shooting and remember that there is a time and place to review all your photos later on. 

6. Use A Slow Shutter Speed

Even though we mention earlier to use a faster shutter speed, it is great sometimes to try to use a slower one. For example, if you are shooting at a NASCAR race, capture the main subject of the photo clearly while at the same time having that awesome blurry background...it can make for a unique and really awesome shot! 

Photo credit: photography.tutsplus.com

Photo credit: photography.tutsplus.com

7. Avoid Using A Flash

Using a flash at any type of sporting event can be dangerous to the players and anyone else who is working. If you are shooting at a college or professional sporting event, using a flash is typically prohibited already. 

If you are at a high-school or lower level event, using a flash is typically up to the coaches or the school's athletic director to make sure it is allowed. 

When you are shooting outdoors, for example if shooting at a NASCAR race, a baseball or football game, you should really never use an on-camera flash, which is why your ISO settings are so important. 

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