10 Tips for Better Sports Photography

February 16, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 47 Comments | |
10 Tips for Better Sports Photography Image

Ever since picking up a camera at the age of 16, sports photography has been one of the top subject matters for professional British sports photographer, Jordan Weeks.

Jordan has worked in various areas of sports photography over the years, from swimming to running, cycling to surfing, and triathlon to hiking. He has produced photography for many top brand names, and is a regular contributor to various Magazines, and Travel Guides.

Like many photographic subjects, sports photography is no different, in that to be good at it, you must know your subject matter like the back of your hand. Experience is your weapon of choice here.

However, to help you get started, Jordan Weeks has put together what are, in his opinion, the top 10 tips for taking better sports photographs. So get your camera gear ready, and start shooting like a pro sports photographer today...

10 Tips for Better Sports Photography

1. Look for Inspiration

One of the best things you can do prior to grabbing your camera, and heading out on a shoot, is to look for inspiration. Flick through some magazines, check out some stock libraries, or just look at other photographers work. Looking for inspiration does not mean 'copying others', it simply means, look at other peoples photographs, see what they've created, and have a good think about what you like about their photos, and what you would have done to improve them. This is a great exercise to make sure that you know exactly what your aiming to achieve when you do head out and start snapping.

2. Understand Your Camera

This has to be one of the most important factors when it comes to sports photography. Knowing your camera, and all of its settings, is essential, especially if you are working with fast moving subjects, such as runners, cyclists, or motor sports. You're going to need to change lenses quickly, change aperture or shutter speed like it's second nature, and know your way around your digital camera's menu settings. Obviously, the best way to get to know your camera, is to get out there and use it as much as possible.

10 Tips for Better Sports Photography

3. Understand the Sport

This is very important. If you understand the sport which you are photographing, then you have a far better chance of taking the images which you plan to take. You need to be able to predict your subjects move, second guess them, and learn exactly when you need to hit that shutter button, to get the best results. Personally, I take this a step further, and physically participate in the sports which I photograph. I do this for one good reason... I believe that if I experience these sports first hand, I am then able to better understand the adrenalin, pain and emotion which my subjects experience. This understanding then allows me to  capture more realistic and accurate sports photographs, especially when working one on one with a particular athlete.

10 Tips for Better Sports Photography

4. Get Up Close & Personal

One of the first things I did when I started my career as a professional sports photographer was to get rid of the classic misconception that sports photographers need big telephoto lenses. This was mainly due to the fact that I wasn't in the position to buy one myself at the time. However, this enabled me to photograph my sports subjects from new, creative angles, and it also got me thinking more about the type of images I was able to create. My lens of choice, even today when shooting sports such as road cycling, mountain biking, running or  triathlon is a 17-40mm lens. I love the way a wide angle lens allows me to get in close to the action, capturing minute detail, and the athletes expression. Sometimes, I've gotten a little too close, and almost lost my equipment, but the end results are worth it (be careful if you do try this approach – as it's not recommended for motor sports!).

Entry Tags

photos, photo, photography, sports, how to, tips, sport, swim, swimming, cycle, cycling, hike, triathlon, hiking, surf, surfing

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47 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 steve johnson

Thanks for sharing very useful information.please check also auto approved Article.webmafia.in article site.

3:38 pm - Thursday, February 16, 2012

#2 Leah

Great and inspiring tips!!! Worth full Information for those who are into the sports photography. It would be better if you provide some photo editing tips. This will probably more helpful.

6:11 am - Friday, February 17, 2012

#3 Tony Sale

Great tips here, i love the very low angle shots very dynamic results.

10:58 pm - Thursday, February 23, 2012

#4 Eric Spears

Those are great tips to improve sports photography. But what about the sports themselves? Here are my suggestions to improve sports: http://daisybrain.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/how-to-improve-sports/

1:59 am - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#5 Andy A.S Photography

As a Commercial Photographer i have not taken the step into much sport work but i am starting to cover more of the even side. What i find hard is getting creative shots during live sport like football matches when you have no control over the action. Any tips?

11:20 am - Friday, March 2, 2012

#6 daniel

Very nice shots; I like the wide lens idea.

5:35 pm - Monday, March 5, 2012

#7 Behind Scene Crew

Thanks for posting this! I will refer this article to my friend who is a photographer and he wants to find more techniques he will used for the improvement for his photographs.

10:37 am - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#8 Jon M Photography

I just loved the tips. I am a wedding photographer and sometimes struggle with other areas. I love reading helpful tips to be a better photographer. Thanks

5:33 am - Saturday, April 14, 2012

#9 Heidi

You used to need long lenses and a lot of expensive equipment to shoot great sport images and you may still need that for editorial content, but for stock photography, all things have changed, or so it appears. An iPhone will do now, as getting in close and keeping it real are key:


3:16 pm - Monday, May 21, 2012

#10 Russell


Great pictures!


4:14 pm - Sunday, June 10, 2012

#11 liam smith photography

great shots, wedding is my main subject but keeping inspiration fresh is where its at. i always loved bob martins work for a different spin on sport (bobmartin.com) his paralympics work is brilliant

10:34 am - Saturday, June 16, 2012

#12 canvas photo

thank you for the great info and brilliant tips i hope i can apply them to my shots and they looks as good as yours thanks

8:49 am - Friday, June 29, 2012

#13 canvas photo

great shots thanks for the tips i hope my photos come out as well as yours

9:10 am - Thursday, July 26, 2012

#14 Eye Fly Media

Great tips here. It’s really important to understand the sport before photographing. You will know which part is the most exciting and anticipated by the audience and readers. Sports photography is slight different from the others, try to look for more sport photos and get the rough idea before starting. Anyway, thanks for the superb article!

3:31 pm - Friday, August 24, 2012

#15 Sports Action Photography

thanks for giving me to grate tips about sports photography. i have also specializes in capturing the special moments for every player.

7:44 am - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#16 Baitul Ulum

These are the techniques that I should learn more, although I’m not a good photographer, but I often work in designs project. Photography is really important. Thanks for the tips.. :) http://bursadesain.com

8:59 pm - Saturday, October 13, 2012

#17 joe

Great photography skills, benefited

12:48 am - Monday, February 18, 2013

#18 Cy

Excellent article!  I incorporate many of the tips into my own work at : http://www.cycyr.com

5:22 am - Friday, March 8, 2013

#19 James @ Youth Sports Photography Guide

So much great information here. I love how you couldn’t afford telephoto lenses so you just took awesome shots with wide-angles. Great inspiration. Thanks a lot for the article.

3:01 pm - Saturday, July 6, 2013

#20 Kyree Sharma

Thanks for the lovely pictures, The signs are clear: fall is fast approaching. While fall brings with it many wonderful things, fall also brings with it the chance to capture your little ones doing what many of them love most: playing sports. With such a variety of lighting conditions, events, and obstacles, sports photography can be one of the most challenging subjects to capture effectively. All great sports photographers are knowledgeable about the sports they are shooting.

7:21 am - Friday, September 13, 2013

#21 Daniel Jenks

I’m doing a Foundation Degree Photography Course at Newcastle College and trying to find out what the journey’s have been like for photographers. Things like how you started your journey and what have been your favourite locations.

10:55 pm - Sunday, December 8, 2013

#22 Alrazaak

This photography blog is cool and honestly speaking i learn a lot from this

3:12 pm - Monday, February 17, 2014

#23 Travis Bright

Just following up on point no. 2 about “Understanding your camera”, using a camera helmet mount like Camera Demon really helps in getting the right sports action snap. http://www.proporta.co.uk/camera-demon-helmet-camera-mount I have found this to bring a whole new lease of life to sports photography, both for my personal use but also for others.

2:58 pm - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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8:35 am - Saturday, June 28, 2014

#27 alan ranger

great article, well done

12:50 pm - Monday, September 1, 2014

#28 Loker Malang

I have tried many times to do such those techniques. But i failed. Haha..  Great work!

8:00 am - Saturday, November 8, 2014

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I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs….Keep sharing.

10:19 am - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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Very nice shots; I like the wide lens idea.http://www.customcanvasonline.com.au/

3:28 am - Friday, December 26, 2014

#31 Qmobile

i like cycling photography. Amazing art.

5:18 pm - Saturday, February 28, 2015

#32 IPL 2015 schedule

I have tried these things in home last night ..haha

5:19 pm - Saturday, February 28, 2015

#33 Kevin Peter

Mark, as am into Horse riding, I’d love to capture the realistic end. But always do fail. Got a basic DSLR and need to upgrade the lens. Any suggestions?

3:44 pm - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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11:47 am - Saturday, August 15, 2015

#37 download

i like cycling photography. Amazing art.

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7:21 am - Thursday, November 5, 2015

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Awesome photography tips, this really cool information… thank you

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