Tag Archives: race car

Sports photography

26 Dec

Sports shooting can be one of the most daunting types of photography, even to the advanced shooter. The slightest mistake can ruin a shot. Having said that, it’s also important to remember that with sports, you get a lot of chances to get a shot with great impact. There’s a built-in drama unlike any other subject I’ve come across.

You will have a head start in sports photography if you understand the sport and it’s rules. This will get you in better situation for capturing “the shot” of the event.

You will need various elements to succeed in sports photography such as Talent, Skill (learn your photography basics), Knowledge (understand your subject), Practice (shoot lots of images to understand the sport, movement and technique), Desire (sacrifices will be needed to achieve a different point of view), Work (commit to be the best) and Luck(luck is also a great factor since you need to be in the right place at the right time, it will shine from time to time)


One of the biggest barrier to sports photography is equipment and technique. It will be hard to achieve a great result without fast and long lenses. The AF system of your camera will also be very important for tracking subjects.

The basic lens for this type of photography is a 70-200mm f/2.8. This lens should be on your camera if you want to shoot fast moving subjects from about 30-60 feet. This will allow you to get “close” to the action for a greater and more personal photography. The aperture of this lens will let you freeze or show motion to your ability and control. Don’t be afraid to change your angle of view for a more dramatic scene. I will always suggest to get low and then go high if possible. Changing your cropping and vantage point will put variety in your photography.

Think about images that will express an idea or a moment in the competition.


With a fast lens (f/2.8) you can decide if you want to stop motion or show motion while shooting sports. A basic shot is stopping motion in sports to an important moment in the competition or the day of the athlete. You can also show speed and effort in slower shutter speed to create a different feel and drama to an event.

If you want to stop motion, you will need a shutter speed of about 1/250 minimum. To easily achieve this speed, put your camera in Tv or S mode. After that, put your camera at 1/250. If the aperture blinks or says LO, bring your ISO up for more light sensitivity. Image stabilization (IS) or Vibration reduction (VR) can be very helpful when showing motion and panning. They will also be recommended in a telephoto lens since your field of view is small. A minor movement of the lens means a big movement in the picture.

You will need to put your camera in a continuous focus or Ai servo. This will allow you to choose your AF point for proper composition and follow your subjects with ease in your viewfinder. This mode of focusing let’s the camera do the work for you. The focusing distances changes with the change of your subject.

TIP: Use the AF-On button when shooting sports for faster AF and better continuous AF. This way your AF will not have to restart when you have taken some shots.


For great hockey photography, you will need a large aperture lens. You will also need to get closer to the ice. You will need to overexposed the images by at least 2 thirds to a full stop of light to get an ice that will be white and not grey! If you are shooting in Shutter speed priority, then you will need to compensate your images to properly exposed your subjects. To get a more personal photography, you will need to shoot at the bottom of the windows (just over the boards). Hold your lens hood up against the window to eliminate the reflections from your images. Watch the play not to get hit by your camera in the eye and to get a black eye!


The angle at which you capture your subject is very important in sport photography. You need to get really low or high. You should try to photograph the event in a way that the human eye is not seeing it live in person. Like you will see in the Kayaking picture…I went into the water to get as low as possible angle for a different point of view. This added lots of drama to the images since the water seems higher then the rider.

The same idea is behind this shot also. We can almost see under the car * Caution this is dangerous if the car fails to achieve the corner, I am getting hit by the race car*

This images was captured to show the concentration and the intensity that a race car driver needs to achieve and maintain.


Master your photography and your equipment. A the paste that sports move, you need to understand your photography gear perfectly and know how to make it perform. Use your vision when at a sporting event. Don’t just look at the event but try to live it and see what really happens during an event! Be prepared at all time for anything. Sports are interesting because the story behind the event changes constantly. You need to get into the proper position to shoot the images. With any sports, you need to capture moments while following the ball and also without the ball! When following an action perfect timing is everything. That is why you should understand the sport that you are photographing. Always pay attention to your surroundings during a sporting event. Fans can create an amazing image, a car crash can happen at anytime, the last buzzer shot can go in! You will need to take chances with your photography to show motion and freeze motion to represent properly a sporting event.

TIP: Photograph the star since they will be talk about the most in the next days newspaper.


What gives you difficulty with sports photography?