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Improve Your Sports Photography With These 5 Tips

Do you love photographing sporting events and lots of action? It is a bit of a thrill capturing that winning touchdown in the end zone or the final step that the winner runner took over the finish line. We always say that no matter what it is that you capture with your photography, you always want to strive to keep learning and growing. Today, we want to share with you 5 tips to help you improve your sports photography. 

Whether you have been shooting sports for years or you are just getting into that niche, we hope these tips are helpful to you! 

1. Know the sport backwards and forwards. 

It is so important for you to really know the sport you are photographing. When you take a photo, you need to be able to anticipate the action that is ahead. If you are capturing action shots from a football game, you must know how the teams line up, where they are on the field and anticipate which plays will be happening next based on what is going on in the game. Same with any sport - racing, basketball, hockey, swimming... if you are planning to photograph a sport you have not before, do your research, learn the game and understand it. 

Photo credit: Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports

Photo credit: Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports

2. Don't just take photos, actually tell a story with your shots. 

Anyone can go out there and capture a few shots here and there on each play. But what make a great shooter stand out is how he or she captures the story. They know what is on the line for the game they are photographing, they know each of the major players in the game and what is on the line for them and wants to share what happens through their work. You also need to capture the audience to help tell the story... a crazy fan who is all decked out in the team colors, a coach on the sideline with a determined expression and even the way the losing team looks defeated at the end. And make sure you do not stop shooting when the whistle blows when the play is over. There is so much of the story in between plays... you could see the players showing nervousness, excitement, celebration and so much more. You have to be sure to capture every single important moment so you can truly tell a story through the photos. 

3. Be your biggest critic. 

Shooting sports can be difficult. There is so much going on that you have to be alert and ready at all times and with the players always moving, falling, jumping or whatever else they may be doing, you have to capture the shot at the perfect time. Sometimes your photos may come out blurry or from the angle you were at you can not really see the ball or get the whole picture of what you were trying to focus on. Realize that the photo is not your best, learn from it what you could do different the next time around and move on. Being your biggest critic is a great way to continue to learn and improve with every single photo you take. 

Photo credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II via Sports Illustrated

Photo credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II via Sports Illustrated

4. Find unique angles. 

If you are shooting a professional sports game, there will most likely be tons of other photographers there trying to capture all of the same photos you are. Always be sure you are thinking outside of the box. Find a new angle. Step back and look at the venue and see if you can find a location away from every other photographer to get a different perspective. 

5. Keep shooting!

Just like any niche of photography you are doing, you need to photograph as many sports as you can so you can continue to learn, improve and capture great events. Shoot as much as you can at as many sports events as you can, get critiqued (or praised) from your peers, learn from your mistakes and then go out and shoot even more. Also, continue to challenge yourself. If you tend to always photograph at football games, and you know nothing about hockey, step out of your comfort zone and learn the game of hockey and try your skills during a game. Every single game you photograph will be unique and it is a thrill to get to tell that specific story. And you never know when you will score that winning shot that is simply amazing and stands above all others! 

Do you love this article? Here are 7 more tips to taking better sports photos that you should check out! 

Do you need a great t-shirt to wear while you are out shooting during a sporting event? The SnapKnot Shop offers so many great options just like this "Photography is Life" t-shirt. There are various colors and sizes available. Get yours today for only $24.00 and if you order soon you get free shipping (U.S. only)! 




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