In most cases, becoming a photographer has its roots in being a hobby or an interest before it turns into a career. This rings true for almost any type of photography, as there is typically a passion for the chosen subject before it becomes a way of generating income.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer, there’s always something new to learn in your field, especially when it comes to tips on how to get the best shot. For sports photography in particular, there is a lot of advice out there on how to improve your photography skills and make sure you are one of the best in your industry. You can also find a wealth of information online, particularly on photo sharing platforms that are bursting with aspiring photographers looking for advice.
With that in mind, here is some helpful advice if you’re hoping to get better at sports photography.
Know your sport inside out
It may go without saying, but to get better at photographing any sport it would help to understand how the game works. Some insight of the rules and guidelines of different sports can help you to predict and anticipate the pattern of play and what’s likely to be coming up next. This can help you to be prepared for a shot in advance, instead of scrambling at the last second. For instance, recognising a free kick in football is about to happen can help you to capture a superb image of the players on the pitch.
You should also take a look at some of the most popular players, what the general public think about the sport and other surrounding information, as this could help you to capture imagery that resonates with your audience. For example, you might wish to take images of the most popular or most controversial player to get a better reaction.
Situational awareness is key
Similarly, being hyper-aware of your surroundings both within the game and elsewhere can help you to decide on your shooting location and what to capture. Sports can move very quickly and sometimes you could miss something in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to be alert.
It can be helpful to step away from the camera’s viewfinder every now and again and maintain an awareness of the game itself, which can ensure you keep up to date with the score and generally what’s happening. It’s been known for photographers to focus to heavily on the camera throughout, and end up being hit by a rogue ball!
Look for what’s happening off the field
While sports photography is very much about showcasing the sport at hand and the skill involved in playing, sport is also a very interactive and engaging subject. Many sports would be nothing without the fans, so consider this in your photography. Look in the crowd for memorable scenes that you can capture on camera, whether it’s a celebration or friends consoling one another.
Being able to show the whole atmosphere of the game is key, whether it’s the substitute players, managers or spectators that give the viewer a glimmer of what it would feel like to be there in person.
Plan your position
Consider whether you want to be pitch-side at the forefront of the action, or set back a little to capture more of the landscape in front of you. Remember that differing sides can move around and even swap sides halfway through the game, so it’s important that you position yourself in a place that allows you to capture as much as possible.
Whatever advice and tips you follow to achieve great sports photography, remember that it can take a lot of skill and practice to create amazing photos. Sports in particular can take patience and persistence to capture that one shot that could really draw attention to you as a sports photographer.