Capturing the Moment in Sports Photography

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The thrill of sports is the fast action  ̶  a slam dunk with seconds left in the game, a gravity-defying leap to catch the ball. So if you’re photographing sports, capturing the action is paramount. No one wants to look at a static group of players holding a ball instead of a shot depicting the final moments that led the underdogs to victory. Here’s how to ensure your photos showcase the movement of your favorite sport.
 
Adjust Your Shutter Speed
 
A high shutter speed is essential to photographing motion in a game without blurring your subject. A good rule of thumb is to adjust the shutter speed so that it’s faster than the action. This will involve some fast math. If the ball looks like it’s going about 50 miles per hour, you’ll need a shutter speed higher than that to capture it. The minimum shutter speed for stop motion is 1/1000. Don’t forget to adjust your ISO to “auto” to allow for changing lighting conditions. F2.8 is recommended for most sports to help separate the background and to bring in as much light as possible to counteract the shutter speeds.
 
Frame The Entire Body
 
The best sports shots contain all, or most, of the player’s body, letting you see the air between the floor and his feet during a high jump, or the tip of her fingers and the ball she’s about to spike over the net. There may be instances when you’ll want to focus on the expression of a face, but usually, viewers want to see the athlete’s entire body in a photograph.

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Use Burst Mode
 
Burst Mode allows you to snap that perfect split-second shot you may not achieve solely by adjusting your shutter speed or anticipating the motion of a game. It’s designed to let you take several photographs in quick succession and is great for cameras with long lag times. Experiment with your camera’s burst mode to make the most of your shots.
 
Get Close
 
The best sports photographs are taken close to the action. So if you can’t physically get near the players, invest in a telephoto lens. It will make it seem like you’re right on the field, even if you’re yards away.
 
For help printing and framing your favorite sports photographs, contact American®Frame’s in-house framing experts.

 

Author: Mike Champine
ChampinePhotography.com