Tutorial: Sports Photography

Capture all the action

Newspapers, magazines and television are going to be filled with images of sport over the next few months. Will your photo albums for 2012 reflect the summer of sport?

Whilst you are unlikely to have trackside passes to major events, you can shoot some great sporting images at local parks, tracks and pitches. This tutorial covers the following topics to show how to use your Canon camera better:

• Planning
• Covering events
• Lenses
• Focus on your subject
• The decisive moment
• Freeze or pan
• Composition
• Final advice


Aerobatic, © Eric Bontemps 2011, Canon EOS 7D

The first step is to know your sport. There are some photographers who can handle any sport, but most specialize. Learn the rules of the game so that you can anticipate the next move or action. If you follow a team you will start to know the players and what they will do in any situation. Try to show how the team works together and then focus in on one or two individuals.

Covering events
Start with local or club events such as football and rugby matches. These are often played on fields with free public access and you will be able to move around the touchlines to take your photographs. Introduce yourself to the managers or coaches of both teams to gain their permission. Offer some free photographs from the event including a simple team photo.

Track and field events are fairly predictable. A good location for track events is on a curve, where you can photograph the athletes coming head on to the camera before they turn. At the finish line, you will probably have to shoot from the side. If you are in line with the finish, capture the last burst of speed as the runners cross the line. Field events such as the pole vault and long jump keep the athlete in a small area which lets you improve your skills as they make multiple attempts.

The main difficulty with motor sports is finding a good viewpoint. Every track is different, so arrive as early as possible and walk around the circuit. Read the interview with Frits van Eldik, a Canon Ambassador, to learn the tips from a top professional.

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