Are you looking to make 2017 the year you finally start to earn some real recognition for your sports photography? It’s a great field to be in if you’re willing to put in the work and develop your skills over time. Here are 10 top tips for getting the best out of your efforts.
1) Know your sport
Don’t bother trying to get great pictures of a game you don’t fully understand. You’re more likely to catch the real crucial moments if you truly follow what’s happening, and understand what’s coming next. You have to be ready and in position before the action happens.
2) Use back-button focus
Auto-focus usually happens when you start to press down the shutter button. This is handy for most situations, but for intense sports action you might need more control. Try switching to the focus button on the back of your camera, if you have one.
3) Stop checking every photo
You might have picked up a habit known as “chimping”, which means checking every picture you take on the screen immediately after taking it. This can mean you miss a lot more great opportunities. If you missed the shot, that’s tough… finding out now won’t let you go back in time to catch it.
4) Get unusual angles
If you can show familiar action from a new angle, this adds a lot of depth to your sports photography. Get to a position that spectators and TV cameras rarely see, and you’ll be more likely to capture some amazing and unique images.
5) Storytelling is key
It doesn’t matter much how expensive your camera is, or even how technically knowledgeable you are, if you fail to tell a story with your photos. Capturing a narrative and conveying what’s really happening is the most important aspect of getting those truly memorable shots.
6) Keep shooting during breaks
When the action is paused or even at an end, this is when many sports players will finally let their emotions show, meaning you have some amazing photo opportunities. Moments of victory always come just after the whistle blows, so don’t miss out on these.
7) Faces are important
If you manage to capture a face in your shot, it will almost always help you tell that story more effectively. Having said that, it can sometimes be more important to catch the exact game-changing moment and sacrifice the visible reactions from the players.
8) Critique your own workspace
The only way you’ll really learn how to improve is to learn your own bad habits and iron them out. Everyone takes some bad pictures, so don’t be terrified to admit when you do.