10 sport photography tips

Shutter priority mode

Here are ten sports photography tips that will help you get better results. Obviously every situation is going to be different and each of these should be applied in different ways.

To get nice results a DSLR camera is must.

1: Buy a telephoto lens.

A lot of the time you are going to be a long way from your subject. For example in a stadium. In situations like this you need to be able to isolate your subject so that your picture has some drama. To achieve this you are going to need a lens that is 200mm or more. depending on your budget and camera model here are a couple of lenses that are popular and will work great:

Canon EF 70-200mm F4

Price: around £500

check out my review of this lens

Canon ef 70-200mm. The lens from Above


Canon EF 75-300mm F5.6 III

Price: around £80

Canon EF 75-300mm f:4-5.6 III


Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm F5.6

Price: around £450

Nikon 70-300mm



2: Take as many photographs as you can.

At the end of the day your memory card should be absolutely full. There is nothing worse than only getting a few images and then realising that they are blurred or just not what you wanted. This tip relates to number 3:

3: Use high speed continuous mode. 

Sports tend to involve a lot of movement – so it can be hard getting that right image with one shot at a time and the chances are that we will miss a significant event. To improve our chances of getting all of the action we need to set our camera to high speed continuous mode or, “burst” mode.

On canon cameras  this can be done by looking on the top of the camera and pressing the drive button. scroll with the shutter adjustment wheel until you get this symbol:



 4: Be at the right place at the right time.

This is something that you are going to have to judge for yourself as there are millions of different scenarios. The point is that you could have the most super duper telephoto lens but, if you are taking the picture from the wrong vantage point then the image just wont have the desired effect. In most cases you are going to want to take pictures from eye level to make the viewer feel like they are involved. Like a said though, every situation is going to be different.

Sports photography tips


5: Don’t not use full automatic mode.

A pretty obvious one but, you would be surprised as to how many people fall into this trap. If you have gone to trouble to get a nice telephoto lens them make the most of its low to depth of field – this is the classic professional look. To get the best results i recommend that you try out aperture priority mode on a nice sunny day.

Do not use full auto!


6: Try out shutter priority mode

Using the shutter priority mode will take a little bit a playing around with to get the result working. A great example of utilising the shutter priority mode would be when photographing racing cars as it give a nice sense of speed. Just as a note i used a 1/125 to get an effect like this.

Shutter priority mode


7: Make use of ISO.

ISO is a really important part of making a great picture. If you want to make the most out of your manual settings which we have just talked about you will need to look at what your ISO is doing. On a bright day you will only need an ISO between 100-400 say. In lower light conditions however this will almost certainly need to be a lot higher depending on what shutter/ aperture you have gone for.

Don’t forget this as the light conditions change throughout the day and you could be left with some under-exposures images!

8: Shoot in RAW mode.

I say it all of the time and i will say it again – shoot in RAW mode! The amount of adjustments you can make to your pictures is unbelievable in programs such as Photoshop. Yes the files sizes are a lot bigger; on an 18MP sensor you should expect each picture to be around 20MB.

Now a days memory cards are very cheap and if you are using something like a 32GB card i can guarantee that you will have to do some serious snapping to fill it up!

9: Use polarizing filter.

Polarising filters are a great way to get much more control over your image at very little cost. A polarising filter will enhance the colours and the overall look of your pictures as well as giving you an extra option to control how much light is hitting the CCD.

10: Trying something different

Photography is your artwork – so express yourself. The last thing that you want is for your pictures to look like everyone else’s; these tips look at some of the technical aspects of photographing sports but, there is no way that i am going to tell you how to apply your artistic skills.

Hope you enjoyed this top ten tips for today! Remember get a photograph that nobody else will be taking and don’t forget your surroundings!


Photographer and writer for jhphotographer.co.uk

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