Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T

Sports Photography

action camera photographers event

Sports photography traditionally captures the action of the moment, preserving the athleticism of the subject, the determination, the all-out effort, or the unexpected defeat. A sports photograph may also may capture a facial expression or some
body language that visually expresses player or spectator reaction.

Virtually any photograph taken during a sporting event, during the practices leading up to that event, or during the event’s aftermath qualifies as a sports photograph. Virtually anyone who can aim a camera at a sports subject can take a sports picture. Knowledge of the particular sport greatly improves a photographer’s chances of making good photographs of its action. So does knowledge of action and how the camera sees it.

Today the camera of choice for almost all amateur and professional sports photography is the DSLR camera. Improvements in digital technology enable sports photographers to use the long-focal-length lenses they need for certain events, such as race car driving, without giving up the sharpness they require for reproduction and enlargement. Using wireless technology, sports photographers around the world record events such as the Olympics and upload images in real time to major consumers of these images, such as Sports Illustrated and other publications and news agencies.

Choosing the right vantage point can evolve from following a sport or from reading books and magazines that suggest the camera positions and shutter speeds for various sports. Fast shutter speeds, such as 1/500 second, usually will freeze action; 1/1000 second will stop the action of runners’ legs and arms.

For more interpretive action shots, a slower shutter speed combined with a technique called panning will capture a sharp image of a racing car, for instance, against an artfully blurred background. Zone focusing permits the photographer to pre-focus on a portion of a soccer field or ice hockey rink, for example, in anticipation of the kind of sports actions that never truly can be predicted.

Professional sports photographers often wear more than one camera around their necks so that they can shoot more than one focal-length lens. Two cameras with the same lens can cover for each other and prevent missed opportunities. For hard-to-photograph events like downhill skiing, professional sports photographers augment telephoto coverage with cameras that can be positioned at critical points in the course and remotely tripped.

Sports photographers have been known to hang their cameras from the rafters and then get down to ground level with the help of kneepads. They have a way of getting to a sporting event early, photographing the early rounds, and catching the early hurdles when competitors bunch up. They catch the very start of action. When sports action gets confusing, they’ll sometimes follow a single player instead of the ball or the puck.

Position may not be everything in sports photography, but it definitely can provide the winning edge. Pros know how to pick the best camera position for the particular sport and setting—and how to change that position to improve picture variety.

Amateur sports photographers should choose a seat away from any barriers, above the Plexiglas barrier at the ice rink, for instance. To improve camera position temporarily, amateur photographers might ask an usher politely for permission and then take a few shots. Photographs of practice sessions taken from close positions can augment pictures of the sporting event taken from greater distances with 180mm to 500mm lenses.

Although professional sports photographers enjoy using the best equipment available, they agree that long lenses and motor drives don’t make great sports photographs. The people who use them do. They advise those who would like to turn pro someday to work their way up through community newspapers.

SST- Death Flight [next]

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or