The professionals take the best digital photos of sporting events because of their experience and thorough knowledge of how to use their equipment effectively. Their other advantage is that are given press photo passes that provide them with access to the best places in a stadium, ballpark or other major sporting venue to shoot the performance of athletes. Although you may never have that opportunity, you can capture more exciting photos of your children or friends playing their favorite sport with the tips in this article.
1. The Camera Makes a Difference.
Your point-and-shoot digital camera will limit the kind of sports photos you can take: Your child at bat in the baseball game, your buddies playing golf, fishing for the big one, etc. A DLSR camera is required to give you the flexibility to shoot almost any kind of sports photography, and for two very good reasons.
First, you need a larger choice of focal lengths, so you can fill your frame with a player as he or she runs across the field, scores a goal, etc. The lens on most point-and-shoot cameras just won’t allow you to be close enough to your subject to record all the action and reaction.
Second, a point-and-shoot camera is likely to have shutter lag. When you push the shutter release, there is a brief gap of time before your camera actually registers the image. Most sports action (or at least the best kind) happens too quickly, so often the shot you wanted to take is lost during that gap of time. Even with a DSLR camera, you still must learn how to anticipate the shot, as the mirror in the lens must flip aside to allow light to strike the sensor.
2. Controlling Depth of Field is Critical.
The best digital sports photos are those that isolate a player or action within a specific range of focus. Too many otherwise excellent sports photos are ruined because the background of people in the stands or scoreboards is also in focus, causing the player almost to disappear. Learn how to control depth of field and the primary subject of your sports photos is where viewers’ eyes will be drawn. This is another reason why a DSLR is the right digital camera for sports.
3. Guidelines to Compose Your Sports Photos.
Many of the compositional tips presented throughout this PhotographyTalk.com series of how-to articles also apply to digital sports photography. Using the rule of thirds to place your subject at one of the points of those intersecting lines will make your picture more dynamic. If your subject is moving across the plane of your image, then give it more room in front than behind, so it appears to be moving into the frame.
Some of the best sports photos are not a full-size view of the player or a wide view of the play. Often, the look on the athlete’s face, as he or she gives 100%, is more compelling. Don’t forget to take some shots of the spectators’ reactions to the action or game situation.
4. Add Motion.
Virtually all sports and the athletes who compete are always moving; but, of course, you’re shooting with a still camera. There are a number of techniques that you can use to suggest motion, even though you’re not shooting video. Read the PhotographyTalk.com article, Zoom While You Shoot for Amazing Images, to learn about the zoom effect. You can also shoot at a slower shutter speed, so the movement of the athlete is slightly blurred. Another technique is to follow the athlete as he or she moves across the plane of your photo and release the shutter, as your camera is moving.
Improving your digital sports photography takes practice and patience, but once you learn and try the tips in this article, you’ll be able to shoot more dramatic and exciting pictures of a little league game or your next golf outing.
Photo by PhotographyTalk Member Daniel Mitchell