Pro Tips for Sports and Action Photography

What is Action and Sports Photography?

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Basically, action and sports photography refer to the genre of photography covering all types of sports. It is action-packed and involves plenty of movements, making it one of the hardest (if not the hardest) photos to capture. But, it is extremely rewarding.

Since sports photography involves high-speed subjects, you will have little time to think. So, you don’t have room for making mistakes. And, if your career is heading for this direction or you have simply grown to love covering the action of a thrilling sports event, then it’s important that you have the right technique to make sure you won’t have blurred results.

And, that’s why we’re here: to provide you easy to remember and follow tips that you can use to enhance your action and sports photography.

What You Will Need

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Before we start giving you pointers, it’s important that you have the right gears. For one, you need a digital SLR camera (or any camera) which you can set your own shutter speed. Without this, we guarantee you won’t capture any good sports images. Secondly, make sure you have lenses with a zoom range of at least 200mm. Anything greater than this is certainly much better because it allows you to capture images closer without zooming in. So, you don’t need to isolate your subjects.

Other than the right gear, you also need permission especially when you are shooting children’s sports. Once you’ve got that covered, then you’re ready to shoot!

Pro Tips for Your Sports and Action Photography

Whether you are covering basketball, tennis, volleyball, football, rugby, soccer, boxing, or karate, taekwondo, and everything in between, here are professional tips to have better images:

  • Use Fast Shutter Speed

When photographing high-speed subjects and high-action scenarios, it is important that your shutter speed is fast enough to capture even a person sprinting down a hill. And, to make sure you are able to freeze a moment, set your shutter speed at least 1/500. If you go below this, you might see signs of motion blur.

  • Choose Aperture Priority Mode

Usually, the typical DSLR modes are Manual, Automatic, Shutter Priority, Program Automatic, and Aperture Priority. Make sure you set your camera to Aperture Priority before starting to shoot. This will allow you to determine your shutter speed. Most professional photographers use this mode for sports photography as it is the best on a bright day. So, choose a small number like f/2.8 to f/4. By doing so, you can ensure that you are having the most possible light and in turn a fast shutter speed, resulting in the perfect exposure.

  • Choose Shutter Priority if Aperture Priority is Not Available

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So, since not everyone reading this has their own DSLR, we’ve come up with an alternative. Most cameras like point-and-shoot cameras only allow its users to set a shutter speed. As mentioned earlier, you will need a 1/500 shutter speed and your camera will decide what aperture to use. Just remember to take test shots to make sure you are getting enough light to enter.

  • Use ISO to Your Advantage

By now, you have a shutter speed that is no slower than 1/500 and an aperture around f/2.8. Now, it gets tricky because these two settings may result in a very dark image. This is where you use ISO to your advantage. And, to do so, simply double your ISO number and your image will be brighter. When you control ISO for your shooting process, your exposure is not only limited to your shutter speed and aperture. With is, you can also increase your photographic possibilities – because now, you can shoot anywhere and at any time of the day.

  • Use Burst Mode

For you to be able to keep up with the high-speed action happening on the field or court, set your camera to take multiple images. This is referred to as “Burst”. This increases your chances of getting that great shot you’ve always wanted!

  • Get the Best Position

The best position to put yourself in is with the sun behind your back. This guarantees that your subject has a lot of light.

  • Shoot from a Low Angle

To achieve that dramatic image, try shooting an image with your knees. By doing so, you can also capture a clear background instead of other athletes and the grass. This lower perspective also provides your photos with depth.

Know Your Sport

Also, the best thing you can do is know the sport you are covering. By knowing the sport, you can anticipate the action and follow it with your camera. You can take the best shots possible as you already know what’s about to happen and you can zoom in and capture your subject effortlessly.


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