Top 10 Action Sports Photography Tips

Sports Photography

Ben Wallace formerly of the Detroit Pistons takes a shot over some Philadelphia 76ers during a NBA basketball game in Detroit Michigan. This photo was taken with a Nikon D1 back in November 6, 2004. It was a great camera back in 2000, with 4.5 frames
Ben Wallace formerly of the Detroit Pistons takes a shot over some Philadelphia 76ers during a NBA basketball game in Detroit Michigan. This photo was taken with a Nikon D1 back in November 6, 2004. It was a great camera back in 2000, with 4.5 frames

Tip #1) You Need A Fast Digital Camera....To have a better chance at capturing that great sports moment, you need a fast camera. A fast digital camera is one that can take at least 5 or more frames per second(FPS). You need that to be able to get many shots in a row to stop the action and have a chance at getting the perfect action photo.

Tip #2) You Need A Fast Shutter Button Finger....In order to get great action sports photographs, you need to keep your finger on the shutter button at all times and when you think something good is going to happen, like a hockey player scoring a goal, or a football player scoring a touchdown or making a great catch, you need to hold the shutter button down until the action has stopped. If you try to just take a couple photos of some great action, then most likely you will miss the great stuff. Great action sports happens so fast, so you can't rely on your reaction time to take the great photo at the exact time that it happens. Human reaction time is just too slow to catch the perfect moment in 1 or 2 seconds of sports.

Tip #3) You Need To Take Many Photos....When taking photos of action sports you need to take lot's of photos in order to get something great. More is better. By taking more photos you will have more to choose from and you might capture something you wouldn't have if you took only a few photos. With the new fast digital cameras you can take from 5 to 11 frames per second, so you have a good chance to get that great sports photo. But even with a fast camera, you still have to stay alert, follow the action, and be in the right position to get the great shot. You must take many photos of sports in order to get a photo that will be a keeper. Maybe only about 10% of the photos you take of sports is any good, so take as many as you can. There is always someones arm blocking someones face, or a photo is out of focus, or the lighting is bad, so more is always better.

Tip #4) You Need Fast Lenses....When you talk about fast lenses that can mean 2 different things. One it could mean fast because it has a large max aperture like f/1.2 or f/1.4 or f/2.8 so it allows lot's of light in the camera allowing you to have a fast shutter speed. For Sports photography, you need big lenses to zoom into the action, and so most of them big and more expensive lenses have max apertures of f/2.8 or f/4 or f/5.6. They allow lot's of light into the lens so you can have fast shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second or higher. Two it can mean the lens focuses fast, and most fast focusing lenses today have a focusing motor built into the lens to make focusing much faster. Canon calls their built in motor technology USM for Ultrasonic Motor. Nikon calls theirs SWM or Silent Wave Motor. For sports photography, you want your lens to focus fast, have superior accuracy, quiet operation and be able to keep focus on fast moving quick sports action, or all your photos will be blurry.

Tip #5) Don't Miss Great Shots Because Of Daydreaming....Daydreaming and sports photography are not a good combination if you want to get some great action sports photos. You must always be alert and ready for the next good action sequence to happen. If you are daydreaming and looking at some cute girls in the bleachers, you will be missing some good action shots. The action happens so fast in sports photography, so if you daydream for a second you could miss something special.

 

 

 

 

Motocross Action Photography

Some colorful motocross action. I enjoy Motocross photography, because of the bright colors and the good action of dirt flying and motorbikes jumping through the air, and then of course the crowded start line looks cool also.
Some colorful motocross action. I enjoy Motocross photography, because of the bright colors and the good action of dirt flying and motorbikes jumping through the air, and then of course the crowded start line looks cool also.

Tip #6) Get in the best available position....In action sports photography, in order to get a great photo, you need to be in great position to be at the right angle to capture that perfect photo. You always want to be ahead or in front the the action and as close as possible to get faces in your photos. Sports photos with no faces aren't worth much. If you can get a press pass, then you could get in better positions, like the professional sports photographers.

Tip #7) Make Sure You Fill The Viewfinder With The Action....When you are photographing some great sports action, it is really important to make sure you fill the viewfinder with the action. If you see professional sports photographs, the main subject usually fills the frame of the photo, and it is in sharp focus. There is never a question about who the main subject is. In so many amateur sports photographs, main subjects are just a little dot in the photograph, they are so small, and then there is so much wasted space around the subjects.

Tip #8) You Need Lot's Of Memory Card Space....You should always carry extra memory cards and batteries with you when you are out taking photographs. Nothing is worse than having a great photo opportunity and your memory card is full or your camera or flash battery goes dead. It doesn't cost that much to have a backup, and it will save you a lot of trouble. As you read about the action sports photography tip of having a fast shutter finger, you can take so many photos in such a short time, and if the game or action lasts for a few hours, you will be eating up your memory card space very fast. Especially with a camera that can take 11 frames per second, you really need lot's of memory card space and computer space for that matter. I wouldn't take less photos though, just because you are worried about using too much space, because then you will miss some great action shots. They are always coming out with bigger memory cards and hard drives and the prices are reasonable, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Tip #9) Shutter Speed At Least 1/250th Of A Second....In most action sports photography, but not all the time, you will want to freeze the action and get a nice crisp clear photo. In order to stop the action and have minimal blur, your shutter speed should be at least 1/250th of a second. I have found that this shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, does a good job of stopping action, especially action of people. Now if you want to stop a ball or a hockey stick, then you should have a faster shutter speed like 1/400, or 1/500, or 1/1000th of a second, or more. When using 1/250th of a second, you will still get some blur, but it's a good minimum starting point, if you are indoors and the lighting is kind of dim.

Tip #10) Fixed Aperture Lenses Work Best....Most cheaper lenses don't have fixed apertures, so when you set the aperture value to the smallest number like F3.8 with the lens at the widest zoom position, when you zoom out to the telephoto position, the aperture value will go up to like F5.6 and reduce the light into your camera. Many times this causes problems because if you don't have much light, your shutter speed might be too slow causing blur in your photos. More expensive lenses have fixed aperture values like F2.8, so when you zoom it stays at F2.8, unless you change it. Most lenses that professional sports photographers use have fixed aperture values like F2.8, so they let in the most amount of light and can keep the shutter speed high to stop the action.

 

Beautiful Cheerleaders during a volleyball match

Some beautiful bikini cheerleaders doing their routine to get the crowd excited during a volleyball match.
Some beautiful bikini cheerleaders doing their routine to get the crowd excited during a volleyball match.

Comments 2 comments

Marshall 5 years ago

more sexi cheerleaders


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 5 years ago

Good tips. I'm going to link to this Hub from mine on backlit sensors.

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