Photo Tips – Sports Photography

Do you have an athlete in your house?  Do you struggle with sports photography?  I have hockey players, baseball players, golfers and hockey referees in my house so I have a few different sports to capture memories of in different seasons.   Each sport is a little different to photograph.  Let me share what I have learned through the years and seasons.

Get In Close

One thing I have learned is to get in close to capture the athlete.   Sometimes it is difficult to zoom in on your camera when the action is occurring because you can’t always anticipate where the action will be.  I take a wide angle photo and then zoom in on my computer.  This sometimes creates a lower quality photo, but I think it is okay for sports photos to be a bit edgy or grainy.

Kept my lens on wide angle to capture any action that may occur on the infield.
Cropped in on the pitcher once I got it to my computer.


It is always a bonus when you can capture facial expressions as well by zooming in on your subject.

Action Shots

It is always important to get the athlete in action!  Athletes LOVE to see themselves in photos competing in the sport they are passionate about.  untitled-4946untitled-4925untitled-2183untitled-2098untitled-3474untitled-1712untitled-4712untitled-3447

When shooting action shots it is nice when you can get the ball or puck in the photo as well.  This gives your photos action or movement when the blur of the ball is in the photo.


Athletes are most proud of themselves in their uniform when they are representing a team or school.  A posed photo is sometimes the way to go for this type of photo.



Golfers don’t really have a uniform, but golf does have a very specific dress code.
Ben loves to get dressed for golf and having everything match is very important to him.  He is also very proud of being a Junior member at Ashburn.  Grabbing a shot of him sporting one of his favourite golf shirts is a must!


The posed photo is always nice to have to display or give as gifts.

I love the photos taken from behind as well to show their jersey numbers and their name that they wear so proudly.

Fencing, Netting and Glass

These obstacles can all be a challenge when photographing sports.  I love when I get to a ball field and there is a low spot on the fence where I can get my camera above the chain link fencing.  Our home hockey rink has a spot where there is no glass by the penalty box so I usually park myself there for a bit to grab some clear photos.  Then there is the danger of me or my camera getting hit so I really have to be paying attention to the play and what is happening behind the play.  Recently I was photographing a ball tournament and I went inside the fence for a little bit and I got some great photos!

This is one of the photos I got inside the fence and then once a foul ball came my way I was outta there!
This photo was taken on the outside of the fencing and the links are visible because I backed away from the fence a bit and I wasn’t zoomed in.  Taken at 35mm.
Not zoomed in either but I got closer to the fence and placed my lens in the one of the diamonds of the fencing.  Taken at 42mm.
In this example I zoomed in to 130mm and I got close to the fence and placed my lens within one of the diamond openings of the fence.
Then there are the times that you have no choice to grab the photo when you can. Better to capture the celebration even if it is through the netting.
This one was taken through glass and the secret to not getting a bounce back reflection is to place your camera directly on the glass.  I usually have a scarf on when I visit the rink so I will polish the glass off with it where I am going to be shooting.
I love when I get a nice clear shot, not through the glass or netting!


Getting those exciting celebration photos are so important to the athlete.  My word of advice is to  have your camera set on a fast speed (multiple frames per second) and hold the shutter button down.  All of those happy moments need to be captured!


And you want to make sure you capture those classy and memorable moments when the winning team invites the 2nd place team into the photo.


The medal photo is an important one to capture too!

Getting a photo of the trophy and it is a bonus when you get the coach in the photo as well!

Friends and Family Moments

Capturing those moments spent with friends, coaches, family, family as coaches are so important in sports.  I only want my children to do their very best, make good and lasting relationships and play fair.  It is fun to win but learning to lose is important as well and doing both graciously is most important.


Memorable Moments

Sometimes quality has to be sacrificed to capture a special, once in a lifetime moment.


My husband is a hockey referee and this was a special game for him as he was refereeing his 500th game in the major junior hockey league.   It took him 20 years to get there so this needed to be documented with some photos.  I was quite high up in the stands, so everything was going against me for great photos.  Hockey rinks are one of the  most difficult places to get clear photos.  You need to turn your ISO up high to let enough light in, keep your shutter speed quite fast – 400 is a good place – to freeze the action and put it on the lowest f-stop your camera will allow.  You most often are going to get grainy or noisy photos, but don’t let this stop you, capture the memories!

Black and White

Black and white edgy sports photos are also so fun to capture.  I always take my photos in colour  and then play around in my editing program until I get something I like.  Here are few of my favourites.

The last thing I am going to share is SHARE YOUR PHOTOS!  I love to share my photos with my children’s friends and their parents.  If you have captured a special moment for another athlete share that photo with them.  It will make you feel good and they will treasure that memory!

Game on!



5 thoughts on “Photo Tips – Sports Photography

  1. My favorite “blog”. Got a lot of common sense info…would love more info on the photo taking side of scrapbooking!

Leave a Reply