Sports photography can be one of the most challenging genres. The action often ends in the blink of an eye, so you should be aware of your game when it comes to camera setup and technique.
However, do it right and sports photography can be incredibly rewarding, with the potential to capture some really dramatic images.
To help you get started, we have put together this collection of essential tips and tricks. From basic camera settings to more practical tips, we will show you how to capture brilliant sports photos.
1. Know and Understand The Sports
Knowledge is power! If you understand the sport or activity you are shooting, things will be much easier for you.
You will be able to anticipate what is likely to happen and where which means that you will know where to best locate yourself and how to set up your camera.
If you are new to a sport you are photographing, try to investigate a little beforehand, so that when you start shooting you have more chance of success.
2. Prepared in Advance
This is something that can be easily overlooked, but try and be prepared, not only from the photographic point of view but also physically.
Most likely, you can be in one place for a while, and if you are shooting from the side, for example, a small folding chair is an essential piece of the kit.
You may not be allowed to stand up, and believe us, kneeling becomes very uncomfortable very quickly. Shooting at lower angles also tends to produce more dramatic shots.
Don’t forget to dress for the conditions: if there is a possibility of rain, bring a waterproof jacket. If you are warm, dry and comfortable, you can concentrate better on the action in front of you.
3. Camera Setup
While you may want to opt for JPEG files, we suggest you opt for raw capture. This will give you greater flexibility in post processing, especially if it is a complicated lighting; it will be much easier to correct the white balance, as well as recover details of lights and shadows. Make sure you are using the best camera lens for sports photography.
You will also want to change the operating mode of your camera from Individual to Continuous, as this will allow you to shoot a sequence of shots when you press the shutter button.
Some cameras offer a continuous high and low burst mode, so think about the subject you are photographing.
Do you need to shoot at 9-10 fps, when 5 fps is more than enough to capture the subject you are photographing? Sometimes, less can be more, especially when you have to examine all those shots at a later date.
Choose Shutter Priority mode (TV on Canon DSLRs), as this is the most useful setting for most sports and activities.
It allows you to decide if you freeze the movement with fast shutter speed or add some blur using a slower one; The camera will automatically choose the aperture.
You’ll also want to set your camera to continuous AF (known as AI-Servo on Canon DSLRs), as this will allow your camera to continuously adjust the focus while following your subject.
The actual focus mode you select will depend on the camera model you are shooting with, but to help the accuracy of your camera’s autofocus when tracking a subject, use the dynamic area autofocus of your camera (also known as expansion of the AF point).
This will allow your camera to use information from the surrounding focus points to maintain focus in case the selected focus point loses focus because the subject has moved.
4. Back-button Focusing
This is something that many sports photographers swear by. Instead of pressing the shutter button halfway to get the focus, use the rear AF-On button to do so.
If your camera does not have a dedicated AF-On button, do not worry, since it is often possible to program the AE-L / AF-L button.
Working in this way also means that you will not have to keep switching between simple and continuous AF.
Simply set the camera to continuous AF (AF-C) and, through the menu, disable AF activation from the shutter button.
This setting not only keeps the focus locked on a moving subject much better, since it is pressing the back button without pausing, but it makes shooting static subjects much easier since you can lock the focus on them before to compose his shot again; If they start moving, you are already in continuous AF mode, so you can easily follow them.
5. TryAuto ISO
It may make sense to set the ISO manually in many situations, but the automatic ISO can be very useful when shooting sports, especially if you are trying to shoot at a certain shutter speed to freeze the action and lighting changes.
A good example is if you are shooting in a stadium, and half of the field is in the shade while the other half is in the sunlight.
In one minute, I could be shooting at ISO400 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 seconds in full sunlight, but if the action moves in the shade of the mount and I might need an ISO of 1600-3200 to maintain the same speed shutter Set your camera to automatic ISO and it will detect these changes and adjust the sensitivity accordingly. If you interested in learning more about camera lens review, check out leansmatrics.com.