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7 Ways to Get the Best Results for your Sports Photography by Josh Brown

Sports photography can be a challenging but rewarding genre of photography. Capturing the perfect moment in a fast-paced, action-packed environment can be difficult, but with the right techniques and equipment, you can create stunning images that truly capture the spirit of the game. Here are some tips to help you get the best results in your sports photography.

1. Use a Fast Shutter Speed

Sports photography is all about freezing the action, and the best way to do this is by using a fast shutter speed. Depending on the sport you are photographing, you may need to use a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second or faster to capture the action crisply. Experiment with different shutter speeds to find the right balance between freezing the action and getting a well-exposed image. Don’t be afraid to raise your ISO as needed; most new cameras can handle high ISO ranges with minimal noise. Also, there are a lot of noise reduction techniques and software available to fix it post-production.

2. Use Burst Mode

In sports photography, you often only have one chance to capture the perfect shot. That’s why it’s important to use burst mode to capture multiple frames in quick succession. This way, you can choose the best image from the sequence and discard the rest.

3. Use a Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens is essential for capturing sports from a distance. This type of lens allows you to get close to the action without actually being on the field, which is important for safety reasons. A lens with a focal length of 70-200mm is a good choice for most sports, but if you need to capture the action from even further away, a lens with a longer focal length may be necessary. Also, try to keep the image as tight as possible to show the action and minimize distractions. The goal is to get the viewer to focus on the moment you are photographing. Longer lenses also help isolate the subject from the background. If you’re still too far away, don’t be afraid to crop the image in post-production.

4. Focus on the Eyes

In sports photography, it’s important to focus on the eyes of the athlete. This is where the emotion and intensity of the game are often most evident. Make sure your camera is set to focus on a single point and use that point to focus on the athlete’s eyes.

5. Pay Attention to Lighting

Sports are often played in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, such as indoors or at night. Make sure you adjust your camera’s settings to compensate for low light, such as using a higher ISO or wider aperture. If possible, try to position yourself so that you’re shooting with the light behind you, which will help avoid harsh shadows and create a more evenly lit image.

6. Anticipate the action

In sports photography, it’s important to anticipate the action and be ready to capture the decisive moment. Watch the athletes and try to predict when they’ll make a move, such as a jump or a dive. This way, you’ll be prepared to capture the moment as it happens.

7. Be Patient

Sports photography can be frustrating at times, especially if you’re not getting the shots you want. Be patient and keep shooting. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at capturing the perfect moment. Sports photography can be challenging, but with the right techniques and equipment, you can capture stunning images that truly capture the spirit of the game. By using a fast shutter speed, burst mode, a telephoto lens, focusing on the eyes, paying attention to lighting, anticipating the action, and being patient, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful sports photographer.

Josh Brown is a portrait, event, and sports photographer, and he serves his clients through J. A. Brown Photography. You can find him online and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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