Photographing Sports Indoors and Out


Almost all of us have times when we need, or want, to shoot a sporting event.

Perhaps your child is in a soccer program, a friend’s kid is on a school softball team, a nephew in high school competes in track, or you’re taking your camera to a professional event.

Regardless of the sport, you can do several things to make the best pictures possible.


Catching the Action

First, think about where you want to position yourself.

Think about where most of the action occurs in the sport you’re photographing.

In some sports, you can catch the action coming at you, if you’re positioned correctly.

Sometimes the top of the bleachers is the best place to shoot from, for that high angle, looking down on the court (especially good for volleyball).

With amateur events, you can often move around and try different spots.

If possible, leave the stands and go to the sidelines.

That will put you closer to the action and at the players’ eye-level.


Once you begin photographing a particular sporting event, you’ll begin to realize that each sport brings its own sense of timing of the action.

The more you shoot, the better your timing will become.

Even the pros practice shooting at the beginning of a season to hone their sense of anticipation of the action of the game.

The best photos are taken at the peak action; this would be right as the basketball player jumps up to make a basket, just before a volleyball serve or when the cheerleaders have completed a pyramid.

In baseball, action in the infield (catching, throwing, plays at bases and home plate) usually make the best pictures.

In soccer, the most important action usually happens near the goal.


COMPOSITION: Think about your composition. Is the background cluttered?

See if you can safely move to another position where you can compose an image that isn’t full of distractions.

LENS CHOICE: More than likely you’re going to want to use a telephoto lens on a Nikon D-SLR, or a COOLPIX camera with a large zoom range.

The most popular zoom lenses often reach out to 200mm or 300mm. The tighter you can shoot (the more you fill the frame), the better the pictures will look.

AUTOFOCUS: If there’s fast action, make sure to change your camera’s autofocus setting to Continuous.

That way it will track the action to keep the photo in focus.

And you may also want to set the AF points to Dynamic Autofocus to make it easier to keep the focus on your subject.

If your camera has scene modes, you can choose the sports setting, which tells the camera that you are shooting sports and will need a fast shutter speed to capture the action.


Reactions among players make for great candid photos.

Elizabeth Barbieri
D50, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, 1/1250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 400, Matrix metering. Reactions among players make for great candid photos.


FOCUS LOCK: If you seem to have trouble following the action and keeping it in focus, try setting the focus at one place and waiting for the action to get there.

For example, during a baseball game, you can focus on a particular base and wait for the runner to get there.

And, if you’re pre-focusing on one spot, use either the focus lock button (often labeled “AF-L, or “AE-L AF-L””) or switch the autofocus to Manual and adjust it by turning the focus ring on the lens.


If you would like to read the rest of this artical, please go here: Photographing Sports


Photographing Sports Indoors and Out