Having the opportunity to make photos of people doing all sorts of things such as swimming, playing baseball, triathlons, biking, running, playing tennis, soccer, windsurfers, can be challenging. How do we get the best action shots?
· Use shutter priority setting on your camera. Depending on the sport you are photographing, you will want a fast shutter speed. 1/1000 of a second will freeze action. For an indoor sport, you will likely have to increase your ISO to achieve that shutter speed.
· Since you really don’t care about the background when shooting athletes, use your lowest f stop. This will also help separate your athlete from any distracting background.
· You will want a long zoom lens, at least 300 mm. You can purchase a 1.4 tele-extender for a 70-200 mm lens giving you 280 mm. Longer lenses are nice, but horribly expensive. Alternatively, some camera shops will rent their lenses if the game is really important to you.
· Watch your backgrounds, if there’s a huge ad for something, change your position so the ad isn’t there – even if it’s blurry, a big advertising sign can be hugely distracting.
· Often you’ll take a photo of the player swinging the bat. Don’t stop there; take the next shot to get his or her facial expression after either hitting the ball, or missing it.
· Don’t just take photos of the players; take some shots of the referees, coaches, and maybe some of the audience.
· Action shots are difficult; players aren’t going to stand still so you can get your shot. While you’ll be trying for a good composition, you will in all likelihood have to crop your photo. Be prepared to do so.
· Don’t forget to shoot the details, they add to your story. Details such as the catcher’s mitt lying on the ground, the starter flag at the race, the goggles of the biker, the spurs on the rodeo rider, or the bandaged hand of the rodeo rider getting ready to go out the gate.
Your child might not be in the majors, but you still want to get some great shots of him or her in action. If you’re attending a once in a lifetime sports events you’ll definitely want some great shots. Following the above simple rules will get you 80% there; the rest is up to you.
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