How to take stunning pictures: Sports

This content is 14 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Continuing the series of posts based on Channel 5 Broadcasting’s “How To Take Stunning Pictures” series, this one looks at sports photography (previous posts have covered portraiture, celebrations and landscapes).  Probably the most disappointing episode so far, Bob Martin was a little light on tips (indeed, he commented that they had only skimmed the surface of sports photography) but it’s worth publishing what he did come up with.

Channel 5′s website has some tips to go with each programme, but they don’t exactly match up to the advice in the programme itself so, here are the tips from the fourth episode:

  • Watch the action – it’s really important to understand the sport that you will photograph. Look at it, think about it, and pick the moment that will give the most interesting photograph. Sports photography is about action – you mustn’t miss the key events.
  • Frame the action – pick your position based on how the light falls on the subject and what’s in the background. The picture must be well-composed and, if possible it should be quite graphic. A few inches either way makes the difference, so when choosing spot to shoot from, pick the one that really works.
  • Freeze the action – this is particularly important in sports photography and is all about shutter speeds. Head on may only need to be 1/640th but sideways wide angle may need 1/2000th second to capture all the details.
  • Light the action – use the light in the most dramatic way to give your shot impact – if you’re looking to shoot a silhouette, expose for the sky to stop the camera from trying to produce a neutral shot.

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