Sports Photography Ways to Improve Your Game

  • Know the sport well. Great shots come from being able to anticipate the action. Look for emotional reactions from the players and the crowd.
  • Remember to focus with half press on shutter and if your camera has back button focus learn to use it. Using the back button ensures that you're only taking photos when you want. Shooting sports means constantly using your AF, and having a single button under your thumb is a time saver.
  • Once again, tell the story with your photos. Good gear and knowledge of the sport are where you start. Anticipating shots and some luck will make you a solid sports action photographer. Telling a great story with those shots will separate you from all the other sports photographers. Knowing the teams and any personal back stories that may unfold at a game are great ways to tell special stories. Maybe a family member of a family member has made a surprise appearance and other stories like that captivate viewers.
  • Get critical of your own photos. You want pictures that tell the story but are also in focus. If you are shooting for blur, as often used in racing and other fast moving sports, do so sparingly. Too many blurry pictures may distract your viewers.
  • Faces are important in sports pictures. They should draw the viewer in and make a connection with the player. Move away from the crowd. Get angles that no one else is covering. Get some high and low angle shots.
  • Keep your camera ready. Just because a whistle blows doesn't mean there aren't great shots waiting to be taken. Moments of celebration or failure often occur when the play stops.
  • Make a few gambles taking your shots. Try to guess where the ball or player might be and get shots out of the ordinary. Stay in place for sometime. Your patience may not always pay off, but when it does you'll have some great photos.
  • Shot close when possible and crop when necessary. Don't worry about mistakes when starting and even as you gain experience. Lessons learned from mistakes make us all better photographers, no matter what genre you are shooting.

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