Sports photography has to be one of the most demanding types of photography. It requires a high degree of creativity, spontaneity, and energy to capture that single moment that can make the difference between winning and losing.
You may have to run several miles to get the right shot, and you could be stuck in the rain or snow for hours on end. The same goes for wildlife and bird photography, where you may have to endure long hours in a hide waiting for something or someone to move, or again could be out in all weathers waiting for your subject to appear. The following is our best advice for excellent sports photography, no matter who you're shooting or where they happen to be playing. Game on.
Know the Sport
First things first: Before you start shooting, you need to be familiar with the sport and the players. In order to successfully shoot a sporting event, you need to know who to follow and the game’s rules to capture the best and most dramatic moments.
So if you’re really familiar with basketball but don’t know much about hockey, consider shooting a basketball game and enjoying the hockey game just as a fan. However, if you’re really interested in shooting a sport you’re less familiar with, take some time beforehand to watch a few games on TV and learn what you can. Studying the game's rules is also a good idea, which you can do by searching online. You’ll better understand how the action moves, what will happen next, and what it means when the ref blows his whistle. All of that knowledge will lead to better-informed photos.
Set your continuous shooting mode
Most of the time, you'll shoot single frames, but when shooting action-packed sports such as rugby or football, you want the best opportunity to capture the most dramatic moments. That's why sports photographers shoot in burst or continuous shooting mode.
To enable this, go to your camera's Drive Modes menu. Sometimes there is a dial on your camera's top plate giving direct control; otherwise, you'll find the drive modes in your camera's menu system. Single shot mode is depicted on the dial as a single rectangular frame, with continuous shooting as multiple frames. Most cameras can capture anywhere from 5 to 12 frames per second when set to burst mode. This allows you to sift through your shots at the end and find the one that best captures the moment, such as the goalie making a dramatic save.
Set your strobe time to freeze and your shutter speed to light paint
This may sound complicated, but in reality, all it means is that you must place your strobes to compose a shot and set your camera to rear-curtain sync. That strobe will freeze the action and give you a sharp, clear image of your model.
Now, set the shutter to anything between three and ten seconds. You will have this long to play with the LEDs until the strobes pop, and your subject is frozen. Feel free to experiment with the exposure duration. In terms of aperture, there are no set rules for light painting. Remember, you can control the light brightness in two ways: by changing the aperture or by changing the brightness of the KYU-6 lights. Depending on your tests, feel free to change either.