How to do Sports Photography

Sports photography is one of the most exciting and adventurous forms of photography. Mostly, a sports photographer is present right where all the action is going on in the field, although not the middle. But yes, the frequent places to find a sports photographer are either on the sidelines or the VIP areas. 

Whether you want to learn how to do sports photography as a hobby or want to take it up as a profession, here are some tips that will help you take stunning photos.

Choose Your Camera

You can indeed use any camera for sports photography but if you are about to buy a new camera, solely for sports photography, then here are a few things that you should look for. First of all, the camera should be fast enough to capture the fast-paced action going on in the field, for this, you will need a camera with a high shutter speed. Secondly, a high frame rate will also help in that regard and lastly, a fast autofocus system will help keep your images sharp.

Best Lens for Sports Photography

A telephoto zoom lens is a must for sports photography. It not only lets you focus on the players that are far away but it is a very versatile lens that can come in handy in many scenarios. However, it does not mean that you are limited to this lens. A wide-angle lens can also be used to spice up the perspective and give the viewers more to see. You might also need other equipment such as a tripod or a monopod. But the more important thing here is to learn what your camera and lens are capable of and their limitations. This knowledge will help you learn how to do sports photography in a better way.
Football photography - How to do Sports Photography

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Study the Game - How to do Sports Photography

One of the most important tips for sports photography is to know the rules of the game. Otherwise, you would not be able to anticipate the flow of the action. Learn the rules, keep an eye out for your surroundings, and also look for positions that will let you get better photos. The more you know about the game, the more interesting your pictures will be

Use Fast Shutter Speed

As discussed before, having a camera with a fast shutter speed is necessary. The reason behind this is that although you can get pretty good pictures of swimming with relatively low shutter speed, you can never capture the arrow in archery. Simply, most of the sports are very quick-paced and it all happens in a few moments, so you should use a shutter speed between 1/500s and 1/2000s. There is no hard and fast rule for a specific shutter speed, but it should be fast and adjusted for each sport.

Focus for Action

If you want to know how to do sports photography, then you need to be aware of the settings like ISO and aperture. These two combined with shutter speed result in the exposure of the image. Learning how to control them will help you better focus on the moments that happen in the blink of an eye. For instance, any lens between f/2.8 and f/5.6 can be used for sports photography but if you want to freeze the moments, then f/2.8 is your best bet.
Swimming photography - How to do Sports Photography

Use Burst Mode - How to do Sports Photography

The second thing that we discussed that your camera should have, is a high frame rate. The reason behind this is that sometimes you just cannot capture the perfect moment, even while using a fast shutter speed. So, what to do? Fortunately, most cameras have a Burst Mode that can help you out. The camera starts taking pictures when you press the button and only stops when you take off your finger. However, you need to be aware of your camera’s burst capabilities in order to make full use of them.

Be Aware of the Surroundings

Knowing how to do sports photography is necessary, but it is equally important that you should do it in a way as not distract the players or any of the people associated with the event. It might be tempting to get near the players but only do so when you have access. Also, one of the most important tips for sports photography is to keep your eye on the whole field. You never know where the action might flow.


Just like every other niche of photography, post-processing will help you enhance your images. However, you should know that sports photography comes under the umbrella of photojournalism. It means that you do not need to edit the images too much. 

Conclusion - How to do Sports Photography

As mentioned in the beginning, you will have fun doing this, but it might also feel frustrating at some points. The only way to getting better is to keep practicing. Just have patience and it will all be worth it.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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