5 EASY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS TO INSTANTLY HELP YOU GET BETTER SHOTS
If you have a passion for sports and action photography and are looking for some quick and easy sports photography tips that will improve your action photos this article may well be what you are looking for.
After spending a considerable amount of time taking sports and action photos, most of which have been of high octane and very fast motor spots, I have discovered a few tips that have improved my sports photos I would like to share, as follows:-
1) Sports photography tips - use a super zoom lens
Number one on the list of easy sports photography tips is to use a super zoom lens.
A super zoom lens, i.e. one with a wide focal range, such as 100mm – 400mm is perfect for sports photography since the 400mm long end will enable you to zoom in nice and tight for a frame filling shot whereas the 100mm wide end will enable you to pull back a little and include a lot in the frame.
For example, when I use my Canon 100 – 400 lens for motorsports photography the 400mm long end allows me to get in nice and close for a frame filling shot of an individual motorcycle whereas the 100mm wide end allows me to capture a frame filing shot of a group of motorcycles jostling for position.
Some photographers find a 70mm – 200mm sufficient, and if you can get close enough to the action then great, but more often than not you’ll find you’ll be a fair distance from the action and in these situations a 200mm long end simply isn’t enough to get the frame filling shots.
The 100mm – 400mm lens is a versatile lens that allows you to compose the type of shot you want without having to lose your place trackside and move.
2) Sports photography tips - use a monopod
Number 2 on the list of easy sports photography tips is to use a monopod.
Super zoom lenses are big and heavy, and you will soon get tired taking hand held shots using one so you will need some support to take the strain. The most stable support is a tripod, but most sporting venues don’t allow these for health and safety reasons. In any case, tripods aren’t the best solution because they don’t allow you to follow the subject and pan.
For sports and action photography a monopod is by far the best option. Monopods will take the weight of heavy zoom lenses whilst providing sufficient support to capture sharp shots, whilst allowing you to move and track the subject.
Monopods are small (when folded up), they are light and easy to carry, you can use them at all sporting venues and they are also cheap. A monopod is a bit of equipment all sports and action photographers should have in their photography bag.
3) Sports photography tips - use a higher ISO
Number 3 on the list of easy sports photography tips is to push the ISO higher than you normally would.
When taking action and sports photos it is necessary to keep the shutter speeds high to freeze the action and get a sharp photo. Image stabilisation will help stop blurry photos because of camera shake but it won’t stop the effects of subject movement.
Fast super zoom lenses cost mega bucks (and I am talking several thousand here) so are out of reach for most people. A 100mm – 400mm zoom lens (an affordable lens) isn’t particularly fast therefore you are more than likely to have to push the ISO higher than you’d normally like to get the shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action.
Digital noise can be an issue with higher ISO settings however modern day cameras are very good at dealing with noise, and you can use a pretty high ISO before noise becomes an issue.
You need to test your camera and tele lens set up to just how far you can push the ISO until the amount of digital noise becomes unacceptable. You need to do this test before you go and shoot sports and action.
4) Sports photography tips - shoot in burst mode
Number 4 on the list of easy sports photography tips is to shoot in burst mode.
When taking sports and action photos everything can change in the blink of an eye and it is all too easy to miss out. Set your camera in burst mode to fire off several shots in quick succession will help to increase your keeper rate but you will still miss many opportunities. Don’t be disheartened by this because that is just what happens in sports photography, and it happens to professional sports photographers too.
5) Sports photography tips - use Al Servo/continuous tracking
Number 5 on the list of easy sports photography tips is to use the camera in Al servo/continuous tracking mode.
No matter how good you are at manual focusing and no matter how quick you can focus manually, it will not be quick enough for sports photography and you will have to rely on your camera’s auto focus. To make sure your camera’s focus will get a lock on the subject and keep locked on the subject you need to use al servo or continuous tracking mode.
So there we have it, 5 easy sports photography tips that will improve your sports and action photos and increase your keeper rate.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.