Sports Photography Tricks

This can be frustrating, to say the least. So, if you intend to photograph sports quite often, investing in a digital single lens reflex camera and lens system would be wise. Regardless, inquire about the shutter lag of any camera before you buy. Shutter lag is less of an issue with film cameras but as more and more people are using digital equipment it’s advisable to ask about this first. Technology is improving all the time, so it’s possible that eventually shutter lag will be a thing of the past. But for now, be aware of it

Peak of action images: Anticipate the action and shoot before the peak of that action. If you shoot exactly as it happens by the time you react and the shutter clicks, you will have missed the peak moment. You might get a good shot, but perhaps not the great one. Knowing the sport will help you plan to capture the peak of action.

Speed and motion: Sports involve motion and speed and an excellent way to portray that is to use a slow shutter speed and blur parts of the subject. There are several ways to achieve this blurring effect. One is to simply use a slow shutter speed, of about 1/60 sec. or slower and photograph the subject. As with any technique like this, results will vary and might not be consistent but after some practice you will get an idea of what to expect. Another way to infuse that feeling of speed is to pan the camera with the subject. The background will be blurred and the subject will stand out.

Practice your focusing technique: Even with auto focus, getting sharp images of fast moving sports subjects takes practice and auto focus is not infallible. The best way to increase your chances is to practice, whether you are manually focusing—and yes, sports pros still do use manual focus under certain situations—or relying on the camera’s inbuilt auto focusing  capabilities. And one of the best ways of photographing fast moving subjects is to shoot vehicles in everyday traffic. Set yourself up where you can photograph cars coming down a road towards you; pan as they go by; and even shoot as they move away from you. It’s all good practice. You might get some strange looks but you’ll quickly find out how good you—or your camera’s auto focus—are.

Tripods and monopods: Camera movement is one of the main contributors to ruined images. And while most photographers can hand hold cameras fairly well, there’s a reason that most pros who shoot sports use a monopod—to ensure consistent results they need to keep that camera steady, especially if using longer lenses. If you need mobility, a good monopod is an excellent tool. On the other hand, if you are going to be in the one spot for a long time—such as when  photographing a surfing event—a sturdy tripod is a good thing to have.

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