Sports personalities undergo months of preparation for the big moment. What you don't know is that the preparation is almost the same for sports photographers. Beautiful snazzy photographs in sport magazines or newspapers are not clicked quite by 'accident'. It takes a skilled professional to know the finer nuances to capture a stunning photograph.
Sports photography is a part of photojournalism. Many such talented professionals are sought after by magazines and newspapers to capture the action for these publications. Sport photographers need to know all about that particular sport. A beginner to photography needs to study sports that interest him/her to be able to judge the right moment. A sports photographer should not only be well-read, but should also develop the right instinct to be able to capture the most energetic moments on the field.
Tips and Techniques
Study the Sport and the Master the Equipment
As mentioned before, you must be aware about the details related with the sport. It could be baseball or cricket, you should be aware of the positions of the players and the basics of how the game is played. This will help you to know where you need to focus. You need to anticipate and take risks to end up with stunning visuals. Knowing the operation of the equipment will also help to gain control over the camera. Once you are confident about the various zoom settings and shutter speeds, moving the camera as per your requirement will be quite a breeze. Practice will make you perfect.
Develop Powers of Observation
Learn to study things around you. Keep your vision focused and pay attention to detail. You might need to spend hours in one place. Observe things and pick out minute details. You can never know which element may give you a beautiful photograph. You must also be prepared for the right moment. This gives you the chance of controlling the settings and clicking the particular moment on camera. After all, it is all about the moment, whether it's a win on the baseball field, or a tumble on the ski slopes. Timing matters.
Select the Right Location
The way you position yourself is of utmost importance. This location should give you space to move around and also pick interesting angles. Concentrate on the background while selecting the location. The background should highlight the image in the foreground. This will end up giving you maximum impact.
Pre-focus on the Subject
This genre of photography would need you to develop skills that help you anticipate the moment. For this, you can even focus in advance on the subject or area. This will allow you to press the shutter exactly when you require and avoid wastage of time spent in focusing on the subject. Focusing before the actual action moment will help to capture the right moment. You need to anticipate things in advance. For example, in baseball, you must know where the ball may go after it's hit, or you need to be aware how the bat may swing and in which direction.
Use High Shutter Speeds
A high shutter speed is very important if you want to capture the right moment. A high shutter speed will freeze the moment. For indoor shots, however, you would need to use a higher ISO due to low light problems. Burst mode will allow you to capture images through the process of continuous shooting. A telephoto lens will help you to capture long shots with great ease if you haven't managed to get front row seats.
Don't Always Focus your Attention on One Area
This may seem a little contradictory to what is mentioned earlier, but then photography is also about experimentation and risks. Avoid keeping your focus only on one point. Look around for different moments. You can capture the ecstatic expression on a player's face or a player showing plenty of aggression. The options are aplenty and all you have to do is to look around.
With practice, this is one skill that should be developed if you are looking at it on a professional level. Be at the right place and at the right time. That's what makes a truly good professional sports photographer.