We all show up to our children’s sports games and observe from the sidelines sometimes with our phones at the ready and hopes to catch them in the middle of a great play. We then get home to discover that the shot we thought was so fantastic didn’t turn out all that well. It can be very difficult to capture a great action sports shot to showcase exactly what happened in the moment.
Here are a few steps and guidance to taking better sports photos to improve your photography skills. But watch out you could end up being asked to take all of the photos of the sports game with your newfound skills.
Raising the shutter speed
If you are hoping to capture the perfect shot and the lighting isn’t ideal or you are hoping to pause the action to capture that perfect shot you might want to make sure that the shutter speed has been raised. Raising the ISO on your camera will also allow you to shoot at a higher shutter speed and give you a better chance of essentially pausing the action through your camera in capturing the perfect moment.
A professional sports photographer usually uses a shutter speed of around 1/1000 of a second to stop the motion. During the middle of the day and bright light this is a simple feet at night you may want a faster f-stop than your lens might be suited for. To help with this increase the ISO of the camera which will allow the camera to see more light.
Try something different
Sports pictures don’t have to look like all of the ones you have seen before. Instead of shooting at 1 level you can try to shoot lower to the ground to help you catch a better angle. For example, at a football game you could get better detail in your photo by shooting right on the line of play near the ground. Looking for a new angle or idea just might help you to catch a better perspective on a play.
Don’t leave out your surroundings
Including surrounding factors around the game will help you to capture a complete story of what was happening at the game. For example, you can capture the entire stadium or if the stadium is set in a great location with beautiful landscaping all around capture that in your photo as well.
When to use a slow shutter speed
In an earlier tip we discussed essentially pausing a high action moment by using a higher shutter speed. If you would like to capture your subject and make the surroundings blurry you can try using a slower shutter speed. A shutter speed of about 1/60 of a second would create that fun blurry background that seems to highlight the person playing the sport alone.
Try not to use the flash
This is more of a courtesy thing than a technical thing for getting a perfect picture. At college-level sports games you will see that the photographers never use their flash. This is to prevent any distraction for the players or coaches. This is a good rule of thumb to go by at any sporting event just as a common courtesy. Many sports areas are well lit to allow for a great picture anyway. It also allows players to easily see what they are doing.
One step some people forget is that most photos need editing to make them look amazing. If you are hoping for that professional-type shot you will want to do a little bit of editing to perfect your picture and show it in its best light.
Of course, the easiest way to capture the most amazing photos is to hire a professional photographer. You will not obviously hire a professional to come out and shoot your child’s Little League game, but how about some great professional portraits of your child in their uniform to help capture and remember this time in their lives?
– Jane Goodrich – NY Family Photographer