Shoot the Pros Like a Pro - Sports Photography Tips
Shoot the Pros Like a Pro, at least that's what they say, right? There is much more to great sports photography than meets the eye, and the best ones in the business have spent many years learning their craft and perfecting their skills. Even for the seasoned photographer, shooting sporting events can be challenging.
One of the reasons sports photography can be so tricky is that as a photographer, you must constantly anticipate what is about to happen and be ready to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments or simply that perfect action shot. You often miss that great catch, last-minute basket, or finish line cross because it all takes place so quickly.
Learning to anticipate the action is a big part of successful sports photography, on any level, whether that be high school, college, or the pros.
So what else other than anticipation can you do to capture those great action shots?
Learn as much as possible about the sport or sports being covered. Talk to players and coaches, especially on the high school level. Suppose you're a photographer who follows a particular team throughout the season, don't shy away from developing a relationship with the team. I recommend explicitly building these relationships with the players, as they provide you an insight into the team's dynamics and how that translates on the field. Attend as many games as you can. As you get more familiar with the game's flow, you will anticipate the action and be able to identify the "playmakers."
Attending games as a spectator or being on the sidelines as a photographer will also give you a feel for the individual players and their abilities. As you learn the game's characteristics and the players who make it work, you will be ready to capture those great action shots.
Keep in mind that each sport has its own unique characteristics, and that fact will affect the way the sport is shot. From shots of sprinters crossing the finish line to football players making the big touchdown, each sport demands a different type of sports photography.
Don't forget to capture the aftermath of the game as well. The story does not end when the last goal is scored, or the winning field goal is kicked.
Take candid shots of the players, parents, and coaches. These shots help tell a story just as much as the action shots from the field.
Be ready for the action by tripping the shutter on the camera a split second before the anticipated event. This technique has served many sports photographers well. Perfecting it will take some practice, but fortunately, the ease of digital photography helps to shorten the learning curve.
Finally, don't forget to have fun. Relax and have fun enjoying the action on the field. Sports is supposed to be all about fun; even if you are on assignment, it can still be too easy to lose sight of that vital fact.
So whether you are capturing your child's Little League game or a professional sporting event, remember the focus of the game and have fun capturing that perfect action shot.
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