Sports photography – most challenging, yet the most rewarding genre of photography.
Sports photography is one of the toughest genre of photography where both the camera and photographer are tested to their maximum limits. A sports photographer is stretched with his abilities to concentrate, focus and stay attentive all the time, be it on field or off field.
In any sport, there is continuous movement taking place, where the athletes on field make sports photographing challenging, which eventually puts on test, the skill set and features of both, the photographer and the camera. The cameraman has to work on the field for long hours, often spending ideal time waiting for “that wow moment” or “that on spot light” or “that perfect angle”. The cameraman has to plan and execute various aspects together with regards to the game and his assets, to achieve the desired shots of the entire game.
One of the most important aspects is keeping the shutter speed high. A faster shutter speed will help the photographer to freeze the moment and get that near to perfect shot without the motion being blurred. In today’s time there are so many technologies that can be used by a sports photographer to capture moments that can’t be caught even by the human eye.
Just imagine getting the perfect shot of the athlete at his/her winning first winning moment. For somebody who is having a look at that shot it may just be a photograph, but for that athlete, the same photograph speaks the story of his/her first achievement, or maybe the greatest achievement of their life.
Every game has its own way of being played; it has its own sets of rules and regulations. As a sports photographer the cameraman has to be an active learner, and should always be ready to encounter new experiences and try different strategies while shooting. The photographer is definitely going to commit some mistakes while capturing shots, but he/she should be capable of always learning from those mistakes and not consider it as their drawback.
As a sports photographer it is the photographer’s responsibility to include the emotions, the ambiance and the complete activity in motion to call it a perfect shot. The probability of missing these aspects are high, but the moment you get it right counts as one of your achievement as a sports photographer, as well. However poor the lighting conditions may be, however poor the weather may be, you have to get it right. This is where your skills and the quality of your gear are put to test.
Before stepping in the boots of being a sports photographer, it becomes essential for the photographer to study the rules and method of the game, to perfectly understand different transitions and motions involved in it that would give him/her the perfect shots of the entire game. As a sports photographer the cameraman has to sharpen his skills, such as, attentiveness, focus, concentration, etc. to the core, because, capturing fast paced motions is definitely NOT a cake walk.
In the recent years, the genre of sports photography has become vastly popular and competitive, the main reason being; development in technology. Sports photography has a natural cross over with journalism, working for new sites and publications and progression in any of these avenues, is common.
What is a Sport Photographer?
A sports photographer is expected to be an expert into his proficiency. In order to acquire the game winning or action shot, the photographer is required to imbibe all the essential skills of photography. The sports photographer is required to have a great attention towards every minute detail and they are also required to constantly furnish their photography skills.
Being a sports photographer the cameraman should understand that there is merely anytime to think before capturing the shot. He/she should also make sure that there is no room for error, because once the moment is missed out by the photographer, it’s never coming back then.
Every sports photographer has their own secret recipe and exclusive style of capturing pictures on field and off filed, but as salt is required in every dish to give it a taste, in a similar way every sports photographer has to have the following skill set-
What Skills/ Experience are needed to do the Job?
- Every photographer steeping into the genre of sports should have deep knowledge about various photography equipment.
- He/she should be well versed with the ability and strengths about the equipment put in use and should also know about ways to maintain the same.
- Being a sports photographer, the cameraman should possess good time management skills.
- The cameraman should have the ability of communicate effectively.
- The sports photographer should have really good knowledge about the game he/she is about to capture moments from.
What job can I get?
A sports photographer can be officially hired by one specific team as their photographer or he/she can act as a freelance sports photographer for various teams and games and can offer the same to magazines and newspapers for sale.
Being a sports photographer the cameraman get an opportunity to be closely involved in the sports industry, which is also considered to be one of the major benefits of capturing sports as well as the photographer gets the opportunity to travel around the globe as a part of a specific team or as an overall photographer.
Sports photography can many times feel like a tedious job and it is definitely one. They have to undergo tremendous pressure and stressful circumstances to get the game winning or game changing shots, rendering the pictures within the deadline also adds up to the stress level of the photographer. The ability of having patience and being calm has to be included in the skillset of the photographer.
And then at the end we all know that all that matters is that ‘one perfect shot’, capturing those thrilling, WOW moments, where the secret of success as a sports photographer lies within.
What are the benefits of being a Sport Photographer?
The benefits are that you get to be involved very closely in the sport industry. You also get to do something you are very passionate about. You are also likely to get to travel all around the Country/ World in this industry.
What are the Drawbacks?
The hours are not set and will vary dependent on where and what you are taking pictures of.
A camera will not make you a better photographer, but it can hold you back or set you free.
What do you shoot, and how do you shoot? Are you liberal or conservative with the shutter? Would you rather burst 3-5 shots per frame, or take a single shot? Do you shoot relatively static portraits, or do you have couples jump all over the place? (It happens!) When I used the D3s, I burst 3-4 shots per composition if elements/subjects in the frame were moving. I do miss that burst speed as it’s great for making sure you have the shot with peoples eyes open and/or facial expressions looking good (I’m sure everyone has experienced having a great shot rendered unusable by half closed eyes due to blinking!). I’ve since learned to live without the D3s FPS of course. I’ve also learned to live with the slower and smaller buffer of the D750. Does that mean I wouldn’t want a faster shutter and larger buffer? Absolutely not!
Do you hold the weight of the camera in your hands for long periods of time? Is the D5 too heavy for you? Do you travel a lot? What is your budget? For the cost of a single D5 you can buy two D750s with a couple of the 1.8G lenses (35 and 85 for example). If you need/want that insane shooting speed and buffer, coupled with the equally insane AF and high ISO capability, you only have one option. The D5 is a supreme achievement in capability.
We each find the right tool for ourselves. I captured images from both the D5 and D750 that I’m very happy with. Everything you’ve seen so far is from the D5 (of course), the following six images were taken with the D750…
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