Sports photography is a challenging and exciting field that requires skill, patience, and a good eye for detail. Whether you're capturing the intensity of a beach volleyball match, the finesse of a tennis serve, or the action-packed moments of lacrosse or soccer, there are certain tips and techniques that can help you create stunning sports photos. In this guide, we will explore five essential tips that every high school photographer should know to capture the best moments in sports. So grab your camera, get ready to hone your skills, and let's dive into the world of sports photography!

Probably the most important thing is to understand your equipment. To create stunning sports photography, it is crucial to understand the capabilities and limitations of your equipment. Whether you're using a professional DSLR camera or a high-quality mirrorless camera, take the time to familiarize yourself with its features and settings. Learn how to adjust your camera's ISO settings to capture clear and sharp images even in low-light conditions. Experiment with different ISO levels to find the perfect balance between capturing enough light and minimizing noise. Explore the various autofocus modes available on your camera. Sports photography often involves fast-moving subjects, so using the continuous autofocus mode will help you keep your subject in focus throughout the action. Lastly, understand the different shooting modes on your camera, such as shutter priority or aperture priority. These modes allow you to have more control over the exposure settings and freeze the action or create a sense of motion blur.

The composition of the image is important. Composition refers to how you arrange the elements within your frame to create a visually pleasing image. Here are a few tips to help you improve your composition skills. 

  1. Consider the rule of thirds. Imagine dividing your frame into a grid of nine equal squares. Place your subject or the most important element of the photo along the lines or at the intersections of these imaginary grid lines. This will create a more balanced and visually interesting composition.

  2. Pay attention to the background. A cluttered or distracting background can take away from the impact of your sports photograph. Look for clean and uncluttered backgrounds that will allow your subject to stand out. (Obviously high school fields and courts are often surrounded by parking lots, buildings and parked cars. You can only do what is available for you).

  3. Experiment with different perspectives and angles. Get down low or shoot from a higher vantage point to add depth and a unique perspective to your images. Don't be afraid to try different angles to capture the action from an interesting viewpoint.

  4. Use leading lines to guide the viewer's eye towards the subject. Leading lines can be natural elements like a winding road or man-made structures like a fence or a row of stadium seats. These lines help to create a sense of depth and add visual interest to your photos.

The objective to sports photography is capturing the moment. Unlike other forms of photography, sports photography is all about freezing that split second of action that tells a story and evokes emotion. To achieve this, you need to be quick and attentive, anticipating the action is crucial in capturing the perfect moment. Study the game and the athletes to understand their movements and anticipate when a key play or exciting moment may occur. This will enable you to position yourself in the right place and be ready to capture that decisive moment.  Timing is everything. Pressing the shutter button at the exact moment when the action peaks will result in the most dynamic and impactful images. Keep your finger on the trigger and be prepared to fire off a burst of shots to increase your chances of capturing that perfect moment. (Keep in mind, you will need to edit these images when you get home). Remember, it's not just about capturing the action itself, but also the emotions and expressions of the athletes. The joy of victory, the disappointment of defeat, the determination on their faces – these are all moments that can enrich your sports photography and make it truly compelling.

Once you have captured your sports photographs, the next step is to enhance them using post-processing techniques. Post-processing can take your images to the next level by enhancing colors, adjusting exposure, and correcting any minor imperfections. One important tip is to shoot in RAW format instead of JPEG. RAW files contain more data and allow for greater flexibility when editing. This will give you more control over the final look of your images.  When it comes to editing, there are various software programs available. I am a big fan of Adobe Lightroom for 98% of my editing. For those very difficult images I will use Photoshop. There are some other options, both free and paid. Remember not to overdo it. Keep your editing subtle and true to the original scene. The goal is to enhance the natural beauty of the moment, not to completely alter it.

If you have any questions, let us know. We are happy to help guide you in getting those great shots of your kids participating in sports.