Tips and tricks for amazing sports photographs

If you want to take stunning sports photographs that are out of the ordinary, it is important that you learn how to capture the most exciting moments in the competitions you attend and also know how to deal with the innate movement of each athlete. Because to be a good competition photographer and make a living out of it, the first thing you have to do is to know the sport you are photographing perfectly so that you can anticipate the most exciting moments.

Because one thing is clear and that is that the most impressive sports photography scenes happen in just a few seconds and if the sports photographer has enough experience and agility, these images can become unique and unrepeatable snapshots. If you want to become a great sports photographer, today we are going to give you a series of recommendations that will make you stand out in your speciality.


If you want to make high-impact sports photography you have to learn to be fast, decisive and very creative.

Learn how to take impactful and creative sports photographs


In order to make a living from your sports photographs you have to be able to organise a work routine that leaves nothing to improvisation.

The first thing you need to do is to prepare the photographic equipment. Depending on the type of sport you are going to photograph, you have to consider whether it is going to be held in an indoor or outdoor venue, whether it is an individual sport or a team competition, etc… Depending on all these parameters, the photographic material you choose will be one or the other.

Another fundamental aspect of good sports photography, especially if it is outdoors, is to know the terrain very well before the competition, especially if you are just starting out in this discipline. That’s why it’s important that you take a good look at the place where the competition is going to take place to find the best angles and, if more sports photographers are going to be there, get up early to ensure the best positions. And now that you’ve got up early, make the most of those moments before the competition to boost your creativity. Look for elements that are related to the sport you are going to cover (for example, a football, a mountain bike or the empty street of an Olympic swimming pool) and take some time to take more creative photographs, even if the participants have not yet arrived. Taking these images will help you get ideas before the competition starts that you can then reproduce with the athletes already in action.

And when the sporting event starts, keep an eye on the participants, glance from time to time at the audience, the coaches and the other people behind you to get pictures of them all.

Aspects to take into account in the day-to-day life of a sports photographer

One of the keys to being a great sports photographer, apart from knowing the sport you are going to photograph very well, is to be quick and fluent when shooting and to be well positioned even if it is cold, hot, rainy or sunny. Because in most sports, everything interesting happens in tenths of a second and these are the scenes that a good competition photographer has to be able to capture in his sports photographs.

The mission of a sports photographer is to keep a close eye on every event that may arise in the sporting competitions he or she attends and to shoot at the right moment when a particular action is taking place. So if you want to become a professional competition photographer, we’re not going to fool you, you’re going to have to climb high mountains, go on long hikes with the athletes, or get up at 7am on a Sunday morning to go to a sporting event. But the truth is that if you are passionate about attending competitions and sports photographs is your thing, none of the above will matter too much to you.

In any type of photographic session in other disciplines, the photographer has to be very attentive to every gesture or movement of the protagonists, but it is precisely in sports sessions where the speed of the camera and the expert eye of the photographer will ensure that an unrepeatable moment can be captured by the lens.

15 recommendations for amateur sports photographers


In sports photography sessions, you can’t miss any detail, that’s why you have to: go well equipped to the competition, study the terrain beforehand and be very aware of every detail that arises when the starting gun goes off. If you have been a sports photographer for years, you will already know all this, but if you have not been involved in this discipline for long or if you are thinking of taking the leap and taking professional sports photographs, here are some more tips that will help you to turn this great hobby into a profitable profession.

1# Before deciding on one type of sport, try to photograph as many as possible

Especially when you are starting out, it is important that you try to cover as many sporting events as possible and if they are of different modalities, all the better. Because it is not the same to go to a sports centre to cover a steeplechase as it is to climb to the top of a mountain to capture images of the descent, it is important that before deciding what kind of sporting events you want to attend, you try to cover some of them.

And to keep up to date with the latest sporting events, it is important that you follow competitors, organisers, associations and sporting magazines to stay informed about upcoming competitions.

2# Thoroughly study the sport you will be covering as a sports photographer

It is clear that a competition photographer does not necessarily have to specialise in a single discipline, but it is important that he/she knows the dynamics of each of the sports he/she is going to cover in order to be able to anticipate the most exciting moments in each of them and not miss any important event.

Once you have mastered the dynamics of each contest, you will be able not only to take pictures of each moment, but also to create more creative compositions, in many cases anticipating events.

3# Control ISO for brighter images and greater depth of field

ISO is the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. The higher the ISO value, the better the ability to capture light. Therefore, if you are shooting a competition in low light, you will have to increase the ISO value to get a clear photo but also more noise, so finding a happy medium between clarity and noise will be essential to take good sports photos.

Especially at the beginning this parameter is not often touched, but when you have a few “flying hours” we recommend that you experiment with it. Controlling it will help you in moments when the lighting is not favourable or you want to gain depth of field. We assure you that your sports photographs will change dramatically.

4# Create sports photographs using close-up perspectives from the ground

If you use a monopod to support the camera and try taking lower shots, you can get some really amazing results with a better angle and perspective of the image, improving also the depth of field. In this way, you will be able to give the sportsmen and women more prominence and create more impactful sports photographs.

When photographing from this perspective, take into account the type of background you will have behind the athletes. Before the competition you can try out different positions to avoid unpleasant surprises when viewing the images. And the same goes for the horizon, make sure it is well levelled so that it doesn’t look like the competitors are out of the frame.

5# Study the pitch beforehand

As we have already mentioned, it is important that you know before the day of the competition what the pitch is going to be like. If it is indoors and you go days in advance, you will be able to check the type of lighting, the places from where you will be able to take photographs, what type of images you will be able to take, etc.

And if the sporting event is going to be held outdoors, all the more reason for you to get to know the course beforehand. Study the different sections and decide which is the best place to be during the race. It is also important, if the route is long, to see the best way to get around so that you can take photographs at the start, in the middle of the route and, above all, at the end.

6# Be among the first to arrive at competitions


Another aspect that you need to take care of and that we have already mentioned today is to arrive well in advance. As well as allowing you to try out new angles, take more creative photographs and get a good position in relation to your companions, it will also help you to have a series of previous images of the participants.

Because like you, many of the competitors will arrive at the competition venue with plenty of time to spare and it will be the ideal time to take more personal photographs of each of them with the rest of their team, coaches, sponsors, etc.

7# Find out what’s going on in forums and groups

Even if you already have some contacts with event organisers, it is important to be part of all kinds of communities, forums and groups where sporting events and photography are discussed. This way you will be up to date with all the events that will be organised throughout the year and you will be able to form a community with other colleagues.

8# Take many more images than you planned, even when you think you’ve already taken the most amazing ones

During a sporting competition is not the time to look back at the pictures you have already taken. If you do, you are sure to miss a highlight. That’s why it’s important that you don’t stop taking pictures during the whole competition.

Locate and focus on the target to be photographed and don’t stop shooting. Take as many images as you can per second to capture both the movement of the athlete and the play or exercise being performed. This will ensure you have several images of each player that you can then sell in your online shop.

9# Exercise your peripheral vision to make sure you don’t miss a detail

When capturing everything that is happening at a sporting event, it is important that you learn to see everything that is happening in a sporting event as a whole with one eye, while with the other eye you continue to shoot the athletes who are currently performing an action.

If you are able to not only see, but also capture the whole space in an image, your sports photographs will tell several stories at the same time.

10# Learn to shoot in burst and with autofocus

One of the options you have to set on your camera is the burst shooting mode so that when a moment of great sporting tension approaches, simply by having your finger pressed on the shutter button, a large number of images will be fired until the camera’s temporary memory is full.

Especially if you’re covering a fast-paced sport, being able to shoot hundreds of shots in a very short time with the confidence that you won’t lose focus on the images will allow you to get much more impactful sports shots on the move.

11# Go to a multi-hour sporting event well equipped

On many occasions the sports photographs is going to spend long working days in the same place, so it is important that, if this is your case, you carry auxiliary equipment to make the wait more bearable. This is the case of the monopod to support the camera and the equipment belt where you will be able to have all kinds of lenses, lenses, memory cards, notebook and pen and other extra material you need during the day’s work.

It is also important to bring water and some food, especially if the competition is outdoors and high temperatures are expected.

12# Try new techniques when photographing sporting events

If you really want your sports photographs to make an impression and stand out from your peers, you can try new techniques when photographing athletes.

Research your camera settings, look for different shots and add elements to your images to make them much more descriptive.

13# Learn from top sports photographers

Once you have some experience, learning from your industry peers will help you to employ new techniques that they are sure to be using and will also give you ideas to create more creative images. The key here is to take inspiration from the best, try different styles, even follow photographers who are not sports photographers and stick with whatever fits your personality until you have created a style of your own.

14# If you are just starting out, show the organisers what you can do

Especially at the beginning, we encourage you to approach the organisers and show them your work in the moments before the competition, so that you can make a place for yourself in this type of event.

15# The key to success is to practice more than others

Constant practice is essential for good competition photography. In this complex discipline, if you don’t practice constantly, you will never achieve a style of photography that is out of the ordinary.

Reach your goals with unique sports photographs

If you want to become a professional photographer and take great sports photographs, it is important that you know the field, are well prepared, practice as much as you can and learn from the best sports photographers of the moment.

With Arcadina, as well as having a professional website to show off your images of the latest sporting events you have attended, you will also have a space where you can privately share your reports with the organisers of an event or the players. This space is the private galleries and in them your clients and sponsors of the events will be able to: select, buy, send, download and request printing orders of photographs in professional formats. They will also be able to search for their images through the AI.

And if you are thinking about how to make a day’s session at a sporting competition even more profitable, a great idea could be to make the photographs of the event available for sale to the public through a public gallery. In this way, all the participants, fans, public and lovers of this discipline will be able to buy your digital images with a direct download option or order prints in more exclusive formats.

Start now to be the sports photographer you have always dreamed of, in Arcadina we help you by offering you 14 free days in which you will be able to try our services without permanence costs.

Today we want to share with you the experience of Eli Mora, a great sports photographer who trusts in our business solutions.

>> Eli Mora, sports photographer: “my clients value their private spaces”

And to say goodbye, one last question: which sports photographer do you admire the most? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Arcadina goes with you

Fulfil your dreams and develop your career with us. We offer you to try our web service free for 14 days. And with no commitment of permanence.

Arcadina is much more than a website, it is business solutions for photographers.

If you have any queries, our Customer Service Team is always ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We listen to you.

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