How to Shoot Action and Sports Photographs

If you’re tasked with taking snaps of exciting action, like at a sporting event for example, you’ll need to adapt your photography style accordingly as well as invest in the right equipment from the outset. Through a combination of the right tools, the right knowledge and plenty of practice, you should be able to gradually master the art of sports photography.


Understanding the main challenge posed by action photography starts with understanding the principles of shutter lag, or processor lag. Between pressing the button to take a photo and the actual image being captured, there will be a certain delay on most cameras. When it comes to capturing pictures of fast-paced and dynamic events like a sports game, you’ll probably find that shutter lag is responsible for ruining many of your best shots.

In most cases, buying a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera is the most important step towards resolving this problem. When pressing the release button on a DSLR, the image capture will usually be instantaneous which means you can snap exactly the right moment without even a second’s notice. When selecting a professional DSLR to buy, you’ll want to consider any particular technical requirements you have such as ISO control for difficult lighting. However, the main thing you should consider is probably real user reviews. These will help you determine what a camera is really like to use, allowing you to make an informed choice.


Even if you don’t want to invest in a high quality professional camera, there are other methods you can employ to improve the quality of your action and sports photographs. An obvious factor is whether you’re fully prepared at the right moment to take the shot. Make sure you’re fully focused on what you’re watching, whether it’s a solo player up close (like on a golf course, for example) or a team game being played out in the distance.

You won’t be able to predict the future, but there’s definitely something to be said for having an in-depth knowledge of what you’re watching. When you understand the rules of a sport and you’re familiar with the players, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to predict what actions might be taken next so you can have your camera at the ready. If you’re watching a choreographed performance, you can improve your chances of getting a great shot by watching rehearsals or previous performances.