Capturing the “Moment” with Action Sports Photography

April 1, 2022
Capturing the “Moment” with Action Sports Photography

Sports photography can be an absolute thrill. The energy in the field is electrifying, and you never know when you’ll come across that flabbergasting soccer kick or that buzzer-beating 3-point shot. Being able to capture these priceless sports photos is hands-down one of the coolest talents to have. Capturing the live mix of action, passion, and emotion on the school sports ground can be a little more than “challenging.” But the outcome, however, is well worth the effort. Read on to learn how you can ramp up your photography game when snapping the unpredictability and swiftness of live sports.

Experiment with the Shutter Speed

Setting the right shutter speed to capture the action is critical for any live photography. Typically, different sports require different shutter speeds. For instance, a speed of 1/500th would be perfect to freeze the best moments in a school soccer game. For freezing a baseball in mid-flight, on the other hand, you will have to speed up to 1/1000th or 1/2000th. 

To capture the real speed and movement of the game, you might want to try bringing down your shutter speed while panning your camera. Of course, you can’t be the Picasso of photography in just a day. But constant practice will help you get those pro-level photographs that show off the coolest directional blurs. Try using a wide aperture (f/4 or lower) to get rid of the background noises and let the players rule the frame instead.

Pierce Through the Action

To capture a memorable shot, try bringing the viewer as close to the game as possible. An ideal lens to accomplish this would be 70 – 200mm or something a little longer like 100 – 400mm. But no big deal if you don’t own these lenses – just close in on the field as much as you can to trap the action inside the camera.

Live photography is all about the perspective – a shot with a full zoom might look entirely different from a wide shot. Try varying your shots to find the right perspective for specific live-action moments.

Try zooming in as much as possible to where the real action happens to make your subjects come to life and freeze some priceless expressions – from the glow of victory to the gloom of defeat, you might just capture your “best shot yet”.

Get your Shoot Spots Ready

Do your homework before the game begins. Take a walk around the field, track, or gym. Then, let your creativity come up with interesting options and angles. The ideal spot will have a pleasant background (no trashcans) and have a great view of the action as it approaches you.

Avoid shooting from the sidelines – it might kill your photograph’s story. Instead, try placing yourself where you can see the playing teams coming toward your direction.

Focus on the Camera Focus

You’ve set your shutter speed, and your composition is perfect. But if you’ve forgotten to set the camera focus, your shots might end up screaming with visual noise.

Set your camera to use focus tracking, known typically as Continuous AF or AI Servo, this setting lets your camera track your subjects as they move so they are always in focus.

Once your autofocus is set, all you need to do is depress the shutter halfway to activate tracking. Keep the shutter depressed halfway until you are ready to take the shot and then depress it all the way to shoot.

A great hack for precise live sports photography is to use the back button to activate camera focus. This method lets you effortlessly activate focus with your thumb without accidentally taking a picture.

It’s All About the Right Moment

The live sports photography essential – burst mode – will increase your chances of capturing difficult (and almost impossible) shots. But use it sparingly when the action is fast and you feel the perfect frame will be hard to time because it comes with a catch – you end up having an impossible number of unnecessary shots to sort through. 

Sports photography can be challenging to master. Make a plan, and give yourself time to practice and hone your skills. That said, if you’re looking for something that can help manage your post-photography tasks, we might have something interesting for you!

With WaldoPro, you don’t have to spend countless hours sorting your photos by subject, answering emails from prospective customers looking for their photos, or banking on that overly patient and proud mom finding your gallery online and weeding through thousands of photos to find their athlete and generating a sale for you.

Through Waldo’s face-finding and one-of-a-kind jersey-recognizing AI, FaceBlocker copyright protection, and text-based delivery, you can dramatically increase your sales by sending every athlete (and their family) every proof they are found in, delivered to their phone via SMS, where it is sure to be viewed, and much more likely to be purchased. Athletes and parents alike will love seeing the most thrilling moments of the game and being able to purchase them from the convenience of their phone – so why not offer them the best experience?

Did you know Waldo also helps you create and deliver custom prints directly to your customers? Check out their website to explore how Waldo can make your life easier, and help you with your business needs!