Top Ten Sports Photography tips for beginners (part 1)

Capturing the action of a sports event, whether it is football, soccer, rugby, tennis league and anything in between, is an amazing feeling for all involved. But how can we get those shots like we see in the magazines and newspapers?

Here is a list of top ten tips on sports photography for beginners to improve your sports photos dramatically.

1. Have a lens or zoom range that is 200mm or more.

A focal length greater than 200mm is obviously much better since it will allow you to get close to the action without being able to zoom in. Two common beginners lenses are the Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM or the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.

2. Do not use full automatic mode.

This is a common mistake of amateur photographers. They usually set their camera in full automatic mode or a pre-mode labelled “action” or “sports”. While these might sometimes work OK, you need to use a semi-manual mode to really take to the next level.

3. Use fast shutter speed.

In terms of sports photography, you want to make sure that the shutter speed on your camera is fast enough so that you can capture the quick moving bodies of the athletes. A shutter speed of at least 1/500th per second is required to freeze movement. Don’t go below 1/500th per second.

4. Use Aperture Priority mode.

The modes on a typical DSLR are Manual, Automatic, Program Automatic, Shutter Priority, and Aperture Priority. Displayed by the letter AV on a Canon and A on a Nikon camera, the aperture is our f/stop number, determining how much light is taken into the sensor of the camera. Professionals for sports photography commonly use aperture priority mode. What we are looking at doing in this mode is to set a very large aperture, which is a small f-stop number to ensure that the most possible light is allowed in and tell the camera that a fast shutter speed is needed for the correct exposure.