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How to Capture Action or Sports with a Digital Camera

Learn how to capture action or sports with your digital camera from commercial photographer Dan Bracaglia in this photography lesson from Howcast.


Sports photography is certainly one of the most interesting forms of photography out there. And certainly a form of photography that a lot of people start shooting because that's what they want to capture.

Aside from fast shutter speeds, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure you're going to get great sports photos, depending on the sport.

For things like action sports, BMX, skateboarding, snowboarding, rollerblading, it's usually important to get the lowest possible angle to make the subject look as large as possible.

For sports like football or baseball or soccer, you're going to generally want to eye level with your subject just to give that feeling of being on the field with the players to kind of convey a really powerful image. And that goes for a lot of sports too. Generally speaking you don't want to shoot down on them because it takes away from sort of the machoness of the sport.

You're going to want a telephoto lens. You're going to want something that's going to be a long lens, especially if it's a big field, so you can get them as they move back and forth. If it's an action sport where it's one split second that you want to get, again, like skateboarding, you're going to want to get a lot closer and generally use a wide angle lens and frame it up beforehand and hit that shutter the moment they get right where you want them.

When shooting team sports, a lot of times you won't be able to bring in something to stabilize your lens of your camera rig. And if you're shooting with a big lens like this or something even bigger, it can get pretty heavy and can lead to some camera shake. So here's a couple of ways you can combat that. You can use a monopod, which is essentially a single legged tripod and it will thread in right here and it will help you keep the camera balanced and the lens balanced as you shoot.

The other thing you can do is look to purchase lenses that have optical image stabilization. Image stabilization helps you get less motion blur at slower shutter speeds. A lot of the new lenses they'll even give you up to four stops of better hand hold ability, which is great.

And those are just some things to consider when going to do sports photography.

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