10 Top Tips from an Olympic Photographer

July 27, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

As I embark on my third Olympic adventure, I am reminded of the challenges of photographing an event like this. Sure, the Olympics are the most prestigious sporting event to photograph, and the stakes are higher, but the same photo rules apply as for shooting most sporting events, regardless of whether it is a national event or your child’s school game. In that respect, I would like to share my top ten tips to help you take better photos at your next sports event.

Be prepared

The best way to capture any sport is to know the game and its players. If you can predict a play or know the key moments in a game, this will help you focus on the right player at the right time.

10 Top Tips from an Olympic Photographer

Know your camera

You do not want to show up to a sporting event without knowing more than the basics of your camera. To get great shots, you should know how to put your camera in continuous focus mode, burst-mode shooting, and how to achieve your desired shutter speeds.

Know where the light is coming from

All good photographers know that lighting is extremely important to capture a good photo. Know from which direction your light is coming, and make sure to watch for things like shading and glare to capture your subjects in the best light.

10 Top Tips from an Olympic Photographer

Get low

For most sporting events that occur on a field or a court, you will find that shooting from a low position will yield some of the best—and most interesting—results. Not only will you draw more attention to the athletes and make them look bigger, but you may be able to avoid some less-than-desirable backgrounds.

Be aware of the background

Speaking of backgrounds, you will find that many sports venues have unappealing backdrops, with emptystands, fire extinguishers, rubbish bins, and countless other obstacles. To avoid a distracting background, you might need to move to a better shooting location at the venue, or shoot at a wider aperture to help throw the background out of focus. The Olympics is one of those rare times in sports photography when I want to include the background. The great colors, huge crowd, and Olympic rings on the walls add to the visual impact and clearly show that I shot those particular images at the Olympic Games.

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