sports photography

How to Photograph Sports Players During Live Sports Matches


Photographing sports players during live sports matches can be an exhilarating and challenging experience. Capturing the action and emotion of the game requires skill, preparation, and the right equipment. In this article, we will provide you with some valuable tips and techniques to help you capture stunning images of sports players in action.

1. Know the Game

Before you start photographing sports players, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the game. Familiarize yourself with the rules, positions, and key moments of the sport you’ll be shooting. This knowledge will enable you to anticipate the action and capture those decisive moments.

2. Choose the Right Equipment

Investing in the right equipment is crucial for sports photography. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a fast burst rate and good autofocus capabilities is ideal. Pair it with a telephoto lens to capture the players from a distance. A lens with a focal length between 70-200mm or 100-400mm is commonly used for sports photography.

3. Get Close to the Action

Positioning yourself close to the action will allow you to capture the intensity and emotions of the game. Look for vantage points near the field or court that provide a clear view of the players. Be aware of any safety regulations or restrictions that may limit your access.

4. Use Fast Shutter Speeds

When photographing sports players in action, using a fast shutter speed is essential to freeze the motion. Start with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500th of a second and adjust accordingly based on the speed of the game. This will ensure sharp images and prevent motion blur.

sports photography
sports photography

5. Select the Right Focus Mode

Choose a focus mode that can track moving subjects effectively, such as continuous autofocus (AI Servo for Canon or AF-C for Nikon). This mode will help you maintain focus on the players as they move across the frame. Experiment with different focus points and tracking modes to find the one that works best for you.

6. Capture Emotion and Action

Great sports photography goes beyond capturing the technical aspects of the game. Look for moments that convey the emotion and intensity of the players. Capture their expressions, celebrations, and interactions with teammates. These images will add depth and storytelling to your sports photography portfolio.

7. Use Burst Mode

Using burst mode allows you to capture a series of images in quick succession. This is particularly useful when photographing fast-paced sports. By shooting in burst mode, you increase your chances of capturing the perfect moment and have more options to choose from during post-processing.

8. Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in sports photography. If you’re shooting outdoors, try to position yourself with the sun behind you to avoid harsh shadows on the players’ faces. In indoor arenas, be mindful of the artificial lighting and adjust your camera settings accordingly to achieve well-exposed images.

9. Anticipate the Action

Anticipation is key in sports photography. Pay attention to the flow of the game and anticipate when exciting moments might occur. By being prepared and ready to capture those split-second actions, you increase your chances of getting the perfect shot.

10. Practice and Learn from Your Shots

Sports photography is a skill that improves with practice. Take every opportunity to photograph live sports matches and learn from your shots. Review your images regularly, analyze what worked and what didn’t, and make adjustments accordingly. With time and experience, you’ll develop your unique style and capture breathtaking images of sports players in action.


Photographing sports players during live sports matches can be both challenging and rewarding. By following these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to capture stunning images that showcase the excitement, emotion, and skill of the players. Remember to practice, experiment, and have fun while capturing those unforgettable moments on the field or court.


sports photography –