AmSnaps - Digital Photography Basics For Amateur Snappers

Action Sports Photography Is All About Finding The Right Location And Good Timing To Get The Shot

Action sports photography is a demanding job contrary to what many people may think. Whether it is in Football, Ice hockey or Baseball, capturing the action as well as the emotion in the shot is the stuff great photography is made of.

With action sports photography, the selling shots are those, which capture the sportsmen right in the middle of the action. Whether it is a basketball player making a shot while suspended in mid-air or a baseball just a few inches from its receiver's eager hands; sports photographs depicting frozen movements tell and sell more.

Freezing actions have been elusive for many sports photographers. It is essential to have fast shutter speeds in order to freeze the action in sports photography.

The modern high-end DSLR cameras with full frame sensors, such as the Canon 1D Mk III, can record shutter speeds of up to 1/8000th of a second with bursts of 10 fps (frames per second). This high speed can capture even the fastest of actions on any sports pitch.

However, it is unsafe to assume that the right equipment will guarantee you a captivating freezing action shot. The techniques you use will determine the kind of photographs you get.

On this note, the minimal speed with which your hand holds the lens matters most. When holding your lens with the hand, the minimum speed of the shutter is determined by dividing 1 with the focal length of the lens.

For example, if your camera's lens is 300mm then your shutter speed when the lens is hand-held should be at least 1/300th of a second to prevent camera shake.

If the camera you have lacks the shutter speeds you require, you can round it up to achieve the relevant speed. This helps you to get the best out of your handheld shots without an image stabilizer.

Practice makes perfect and the more shots you take using this rule, the better you will get with time.

Freezing the sporting action by holding the camera with your hand is a difficult task. The longer, fast lenses are heavy and hard to hold in position. The movement of muscles and the heartbeat also interfere with accurate capturing of still objects.

Monopods are handy for sports photographers who want to become steadier and get higher shutter-speeds with their hand held shots.

The length of your lens is another vital aspect of action sports photography. The longer the lens of a camera, the better its ability to magnify both the scenes and movements in the sports pitch. But, longer lenses also require higher shutter speeds to capture the action from a distace, so your lens will need to be fast to let enough light on to the sensor.

Mastery of the camera's actions has to be in tandem with personal effort. Sometimes photographers have to move with the sportsmen in order to capture superb shots.

You need to predict what's going to happen next and anticipate the players movements. Panning along with them shooting in short bursts will make sure you dont miss out on the perfect shot.

Once you master all these things and place yourself at the right place in the sports field, you are bound to make news with your action sports photographs.

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David Coote
Wedding Photographer
Northern Ireland