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Tips On Photographing Sports Events

Tips On Photographing Sports Events - Holly Constantine shares her tips and advice on capturing images at sports events.

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Sports and Action

With sports becoming increasingly popular over the years, opportunities to attend sporting events have arisen left, right, and centre. Ranging from local level junior matches, to international finals, the time to start photographing sports has never been greater. If you want to expand your photographic skills, or simply want to capture fond memories of your little ones (in a professional way), then this article will put you on the right track.

Using the Tamron AF 70-300mm Tele-Macro lens, focusing primarily on the 70-180mm focal lengths, and using an indoor Handball match as an example, I will share my top tips for capturing those all-important sporting shots.

Handball match

Manual Mode – The first thing you will need to do when photographing sports is to put your camera into Manual mode. This will allow you to change the relevant settings in order to capture your perfect shot.

Fast Shutter-Speed – Once your camera is in Manual Mode, you will then need to change your shutter speed to a fast setting. Doing this will mean that you will be able to capture great action shots without unwanted motion blur. It is suggested that you start off with a shutter speed setting of 1/500 seconds, and if you find that you are still receiving blurred images, simply increase the shutter speed to what is required.

Wider Aperture – The next setting you will need to change is the aperture. In order for you to achieve the fast shutter speeds that are required, the aperture may need to be open as wide as it will go. Try an aperture of approximately f/5.6 and work from there.

Increase the ISO – Although increasing the ISO tends to create noisy images, this is better (and easier to edit) than blurry images. As you are using such a fast shutter speed, and although the aperture is open wide, you may still receive underexposed images if the ISO hasn’t been increased. The ISO setting will therefore need to be on a minimum of 400 and may have to be pushed up to as high as it can go.

Play around with Focusing – It is suggested that you put your camera onto manual focusing. Having the focusing on automatic means that your camera will take longer to capture the image and the perfect shot may be missed! One of my top tips is to follow the action through the lens and continuously change the focus so that when the perfect shot arises, you’re ready to shoot.


Use Continuous (or Burst) Mode – As sports are generally fast paced, place your camera into its Continuous mode in order to capture several images at once. This will increase the likelihood of you capturing that decisive action moment and will give your images the sporting quality you want.

Change the White Balance – If you are photographing in a typical sports hall (as shown in the example images) changing your white balance to either Florescent or Tungsten will mean that you will avoid unwanted tints within your images. However, if you are shooting sports events that are outside, an automatic white balance should work well.

Don't use the Flash – Before starting your sports photography, make sure that you turn your camera flash off. Your camera flash isn’t useful for this type of photography and can not only make your images appear 2D, but it can also distract the players!

Interesting Aspects – Experiment. Sports photography isn’t all about capturing the perfect action moments. Photographing warm ups, time outs, and breaks during play is often when true team spirit can be seen and this will allow you to achieve some interesting shots.


For more action and sports photography tips, take a look at ePHOTOzine's technique section

For more information on Holly, take a look at her blog

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