The Dos And Don’ts Of Sports Photography

Photography is an art form but perhaps the most impressive form of the practice is capturing live sports. Of course you could argue that all photography has its live elements but it is only when you are photographing live sport that you understand the incomparable difficulty of capturing the perfect live shot.

Whether you’re a happy-snappy fan or you’re a professional photographer in training, learning to shoot moving images is a skill that’s well worth mastering. It will help you gain fundamental industry experience that is transferrable to many other areas of photography; headshots, wedding photography, celebratory and corporate events to name just a few.

Follow these tips to create some truly stunning live sports photography:

Know your subject

Regardless of your sport of choice, the one essential thing you must have is knowledge of your subject. If you are familiar with the sport (or the team) you are photographing, then capturing it in all its glory will come naturally. Following the ball or the action is of course what you’re there to do, but to be able to have an almost sixth sense about predicting where the play goes next will lead to some fantastic live shots that will really stand out from the rest.

Be creative

Do some research by flicking through magazines or newspapers and see how the sporting images have been captured. Then try to think outside the box; how can i do it differently? Which shots aren’t people getting and how can I capture them?

Know your scene

Like any kind of professional photographer, it is vital that you know every inch of your scene or location. By knowing your environment inside and out, you will discover how to make the best of it by knowing where you can take the best snaps to get the best results.

sports photography

Tell a story

Perhaps the best piece of advice for anyone new to photography is to try and tell a story with your images. Besides taking action shots, take some stills of the equipment, the background and any interesting surrounding areas – put simply, try to capture anything that will create a bigger picture of your sport, as this will help you tell its story better.

Try something new

Too many sports photographers capture the same images time and time again.Whilst they may not necessarily be bad or poorly constructed, they often don’t demonstrate their talents in the best way possible. Always be striving to try something new. For instance, you could use an unusual lens or filter to capture a photo that emulates a different style. With so many great sports photographers to pip you to the post, you must try something different to stay in the game.

And of course there are some things you really shouldn’t do if you want to stay ahead as a reputable sports photographer. Here are the most common ‘Don’ts’:

Don’t take your eyes off the ball

The most common mistake trainee photographers make is missing key events. By looking away or turning your camera off for even a second, you run the risk of missing the perfect shot. Make sure you stay sharp, focused and take plenty of spare batteries on location!

Don’t use new equipment

If you’ve just bought a brand-spanking new camera and haven’t had time to get to grips with it, don’t take it to the game. Technical difficulties are a photographer’s worst nightmare on set, so make sure that you know your camera inside out before you try to take live action photos.

Don’t get too close

Perhaps the most obvious but the most important advice to remember is to make sure that you’re not too close to the field of play. There have been all too many horror stories of photographers being struck in the face by a ball because they were almost on the pitch. Stay back, keep your distance and watch out for the ball – that zoom slider is there for a reason!

Annette Field is a Glasgow wedding photographer who trained for several years to hone a wide range of photography skills and techniques.

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