As the Rio 2016 summer Olympics are underway, KODAKIT will be examining the photography associated with the athlete’s success and the basics to replicating the magazine covers.
In general, professional sports photography is used for editorial purposes. Established sports photographers usually work for major newspapers, agencies or sports magazines. However, sports photography is also used for advertising to connect athletes to brands.
If you are interested in shooting sports photography you will need a DSLR camera with incredibly high shooting speeds and interchangeable lenses ranging from 15mm to 400mm or longer, depending on the sport. Longer focal length lenses are typically used to photograph action in sports such as football, while wide angle lenses can be used for sideline and close-up athlete photos like ping pong. Proper lenses are very important as they allow the photographer to keep up with the match during all situations. Both zoom and prime lenses are used; zoom lenses (generally in the 70–200, 75–300, 100–400 or 200-400 range) allow a greater range of framing.
Accessories you must have include a tripod for stability and extra batteries just in case.
The recommended camera bodies for modern sports photography have very fast auto focus and high burst rates, typically 8 frames per second or faster. The Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1D X Mark II are the popular options in professional sports photography.
The main distinction is between outdoor sports and indoor sports – in outdoor sports the distance of boundaries are greater and lighting is brighter, while in indoor sports the distances are shortened and light tends to be dimmer. Accordingly, outdoor sports tend to have longer focal length long focus lenses with slower apertures, while indoor sports tend to have shorter lenses with faster apertures.
At big sporting events, professional photographers often shoot from VIP spots with the best views, usually as close to the action as possible. Most sports require the photographer to frame their images with speed and adjust camera settings spontaneously to prevent blurring or incorrect exposure. Some sports photographers like to play around with angles in their shots to give the game a unique effect.
Next time you feel inspired to pick up your camera, try to capture an upcoming sporting event and test your creativity!