Travel Photography: Sports

There are many types of travel photography, with documenting sports being one of the more challenging. Unlike in other types, the best shots are often of people in the middle of the action. As subjects do not often stop to pose, it requires more skill to take photos of people moving. Here are a few steps in taking better camera shots.

Step 1: Learn the Sport

Read up on the sport that will be photographed. Knowing how the sport works will help photographers understand how to attack the situation, what the players will be doing and when to take the shot. Based on what is known about the sport, the photographer will know what to expect on the day itself and what equipment to bring.

Step 2: Prepare the Equipment

Anticipate the type of equipment that may be needed during the shoot. It is better to be over equipped rather than looking for a device that was left behind. The type of sport and the location can determine the type of equipment that will be needed for the shoot. Most photographers use a 35mm camera for its portability. Cameras with 85mm lens are good for close ups while 300mm lenses are good for wide angles. Bring lots of extra batteries and memory. A tripod may also be necessary. This provides added stability for taking action shots and will remove pressure from the hands and shoulders.  

Step 3: Arrive Early

This is where the research on the sport will come in handy. Getting to the location early will allow the photographer to canvass which areas may yield the best shots. In most cases, photographers will only be designated certain spots on the field where they can take shots. An ID or media pass may be required to get into the best areas or those closest to the action. Regardless of the situation, it is vital to get as close to the action as possible and allowed. Cameras and lenses have limitations. Photographers will only be able to get shots of what they can see or what their camera can capture.  

Step 4: Timing

With sports, timing means everything. It is all about reacting and anticipating when that great shot will occur and pressing the button. In addition, photographers will need to make the right adjustments to the camera settings so that the camera is able to capture the shot. As with any sport, there are shots that can be predicted and others that are not. The research into the sport should cover most of the predictable aspects which photographers can take advantage of and get great shots from. For example, with volleyball, photographers will have the chance to document serves, passes, sets, spikes, blocks, digs and so on.

Photographers should also take photographs of the action prior to the game starting. Take pictures of the players in a huddle or warming up. For photographers working for sports sites or magazines, these shots may not be as exciting but is an alternative in case the weather changes or in case there are no better shots.