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Sports Photography: An Introduction

Sports-PhotographyThe following is a reader submitted tutorial from Jamie De Pould who is sharing with us what he’s been learning about Sports Photography.

An Introduction to Sports Photography

Sports shooting can be one of the most daunting types of photography, even to the advanced shooter. The slightest mistake can ruin a shot. Having said that, it’s also important to remember that with sports, you get a lot of chances to get a shot with great impact. There’s a built-in drama unlike any other subject I’ve come across.

A little bit about myself, before I get too far into it: I am a student in the U.S. and Chief Photographer for The Chimes, Capital University’s student newspaper, where I manage a staff of three photographers (including me). I also do some freelancing for the local Columbus papers.

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Sports Photography Gear, lighting and settings

One of the biggest barriers to entry is equipment. I’ll be very direct here: it is extremely difficult to take good sports photos without an SLR and long lenses. It also helps if those long lenses are fast. Before long, you’re looking at a pretty large investment.

I usually shoot with two bodies: a Nikon D50 and a Nikon D200. Lens choice depends on what exactly I’m shooting, but my three main “weapons” are the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and 50mm f/1.8. Generally, the 70-300 goes on the D200 for main action and the D50 gets the 18-70 or 50 for time outs and less active shots-free throws are a good example.

There are no hard and fast rules, but if you don’t have a lens with at least 200mm of reach, you’ll probably be hurting.

There are two main divisions when it comes to sports: good lighting and bad lighting. Examples of sports with good lighting are (daytime) baseball, auto racing, tennis, (American) football and soccer (AKA futbol). Examples of sports with bad lighting are ice hockey, basketball, indoor volleyball and anything at night; artificial light just isn’t as good as our trusty old sun.

Before I start talking about lenses and aperture, I’d like to stress that fast shutter speeds are crucial to getting clear action shots. Experimenting with slower shutter speeds is fine, but when you aren’t experimenting, keep it over 1/250s. (more…)

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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