8 sports photography tips

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Are you going to learn to shoot sports events better and create impressive shots? Sports photography gives you plenty of opportunities to capture dramatic and vibrant images that will stay with you for life. No other medium will provide you with so much action that makes the heart beat, so rich in shades and unique shooting possibilities.

The steps and recommendations discussed in this lesson cover a wide range of issues, from selecting an excerpt value to checking if you’ve missed an important point.

Following these 8 tips, you can significantly improve your photos, which will make all your friends envious of you. The key point, besides these eight tips, is not to stop shooting! Practice leads to perfection, giving you firmness of hands and readiness for the moment of the great game.

Are you going to shoot the perfect shot, but the lighting leaves much to be desired? Trying to stop the movement on a small league game and need a shorter shutdown? Increasing the ISO on your camera will allow you to take a short shutter speed, giving you more chances to get your perfect shot.

1. Be ready to use high ISO

Professional sports photographers use a shutter speed of about 1/1000 seconds to stop motion. It’s easy during the day. However, at night, you may need more importance to uncover the diaphragm than what your lens is capable of. As a compromise solution, increase the ISO (what was previously called film speed) on your camera. This will allow the unit to recognize more light.

So, how much value do you need? If you shoot at the last and best cameras such as the Nikon D700 or Canon 5d Mark II, you can use the ISO values ​​up to the maximum level (3200 ISO), and your images will still look good. In the past, an increase in ISO values ​​meant more noise in the photos. However, with the latest systems, the photos look great for any value.

Given the foregoing, I usually shoot at ISO 1600. This is the golden mean between ISO 800 and ISO 3200 and allows me to photograph sporting events at much shorter periods.

Depending on the capabilities of the camera, you might also want to try using Auto ISO to allow your camera to automatically select the best ISO value for you. This feature has one unique feature: the automatic system does not change ISO to full scale, for example, c 400 ISO to 800 ISO, instead it can change the value from 200 ISO to 210 ISO. Take note of this setting if you are just starting to work with ISO settings to improve night shots.

2. Try something new

All sports shots should not look the same. A few years ago, photographers from a small American magazine decided to try something new to cover football matches. Instead of shooting at the level of the eyes, they lay so low on the ground in the end zone as possible, with a wide-angle lens. What did it do with their images? This provided them with a new angle of view to help tell the story. You ask who these people are? Sports Illustrated photographers. Now everyone is doing it.

Be original during the shooting and try something unusual. At every event I cover, I try to find as many new approaches as possible. I mainly work as a professional photographer in motorcycle riding mainly NASCAR, but at each event a new situation. This allows me to try new backgrounds, new angles, new shooting positions.

You do not have to take professional sports to try something new. Even when I was photographing football at high school, I was always looking for new angles and ideas.

Trying to create something else, you allow your creative component to blossom and create something that nobody took to you. In the picture below, I photographed through the windscreen of a racing car and caught a driver preparing to enter the track.

3. Do not forget about the surroundings

This may sound like a nonsense, but do not forget about your surroundings. Whether it’s a stadium full of jolting fans, or a picnic on the tailgating near the stadium, the environment provides you with unique capabilities to capture the spirit of the game without breaking off the action itself.

Before the start of the match, “tilegating” is a great place to shoot true fans before the game.

Before the start of the basketball game, the side of the judges is also a good place to shoot frames reflecting the spirit of the team.

Even after the game started, do not forget about the surroundings. If you have a wide-angle, such as 10.5 mm or 14 mm, get as high as you can and take a picture of the general view of the stadium filled with jolly fans.

4. Prepare a belt for equipment or photo bag

Ever wondered why sporting photographers carry so much equipment with them? This is because we want to rock the muscles while we walk.

Apart from jokes, when you are on the side lines or in the thick of events, it’s hard to run somewhere to your bag and change equipment. Many sports photographers use one of three things to carry equipment when working on the side line: a waist bag, a seat belt system, or a life style.

Photo jerks were a cool thing a few years ago (I had such), but now they are impractical, given the number of lenses you need to have with you in the fast-access area. I prefer to use a good waistband system. In this system, I have six holster that can be used at any time, from a large hub for lenses to one, designed specifically for the flash.

This system allows me to quickly change lenses and store all my memory cards in one safe place. On the lateral lines, this allows me to remain in a state of preparedness for action with a set of lenses, and since each holster has a protective coating, it also ensures the safety of the equipment during rain during shooting outdoor sports events.

Some companies offer special bags for sports photographers.
The key point in choosing a good system is to find the one that is convenient for you and suitable for solving your specific tasks. Visit a local photo shop, try different options, and see what works best.

5. Long glasses will go far

The shooting of a perfect frame in sports reduces to relatively few things. One of the most important moments is glass. Sport photography, unlike any other type of shooting, sometimes requires the most extensive and most expensive equipment available on the market. This will allow you to shoot from anywhere in and around the stadium, including a spectacle in American football, creating great shots.

I say all this for one simple reason. As we mentioned earlier, cameras can now create miracles with high ISO settings. This allows people to use slower lenses for shooting sports, such as f / 4.
When you are looking for good glasses for a sports photo, consider the following factors:

    Take a telephoto lens with a focal length of 300 mm or 400 mm, if you can afford them. If not, take 70-200 mm.
Select lenses with f / 2.8 or f / 4 frames. Try to pick this up and run away from f / 5.6, like the plague.
Usually, the larger and the heavier the lens, the better it is.
Make sure the lens has a tripod slot.
Look for lenses that have passed the test of time: this is the reason why Nikon and Canon rarely change their line of lenses.

Buying good glass is not the same as buying a new “carcass.” Good glass will last for at least 10 years with proper care and maintenance.

6. Let’s do without the “chimp”, please.

Each sports photographer suffers from “chimping” (chimping). If you are not familiar with the term, this definition will clarify everything.

In essence, chipping is when you check each frame on the LCD immediately after shooting. Why is this bad? This distracts you from the action, because all your attention is focused on the camera. This is bad for two reasons: (1) you can get injured, and (2) you can miss a good frame.

When you do this, you take a look from the field and action. If you shoot football, you can easily knock down the side line while your attention is occupied by another.

To view your photos there is a time and place. During sports events, after a shutter cliche there is no second chance. Go to the next game.

7. Use a long shutter speed

Long Exposure? I used 1/1000 seconds earlier to record an action and stop it …

Trying to create something new and interesting, you can sometimes try to use different excerpts. If you shoot a baseball and want to capture a shot in the form of a perfect silhouette, I do not suggest you shoot in 1/60 second. But if you want to get a shot with a cool blurry background, it works great.

Many professional photographers from Getty Images and Reuters use this technique to bring energy into their imagery and create a luxuriously looking clean background. Shooting at 1/100 or 1/80 second will allow the player to be focused, while the background – very strong and effectively blurred.

8. Avoid using the flash

During shooting of professional or student competitions, shooting with a flash is strictly prohibited. The flash can distract players and curb trainers. There are several exceptions, including basketball and indoor sporting events, but camera flashes can not be used at all.

For events in a school room, there are usually very powerful flashes (or strobes) installed on the hall’s beam and provide the perfect amount of light that hits the playing field. These flashes can be synchronized with your camera using the Pocket Wizard.

When you shoot outdoors, for example, football or baseball, you should never use a flash on the camera. That is why the ISO settings are so important.
If you are taking a local event or a lower level event, such as a school football tournament, the flash is usually acceptable. I always first interact with the coaches or the school sports director to make sure that the work of flashes will not hurt anyone.

Many sanctioning authorities have special rules for photographers, so before you shoot an event, make sure you’ve gotten familiar with them to know what’s allowed and what’s not.

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