How to Set up a Camera for Sports Photography?

Taking photography is quite hard work. Being a professional photographer requires a lot of discipline and constant practice. Considering the importance that exists between the elements and the tools that make up all the work. …

How to Set up a Camera for Sports Photography?

Taking photography is quite hard work. Being a professional photographer requires a lot of discipline and constant practice. Considering the importance that exists between the elements and the tools that make up all the work. Well, photography is not something of a single thing or of using a camera, and that’s it, but it needs more effort than that.

Hence, there are few true photography professionals, since they dedicate themselves fully to that. Studying and learning new techniques and methods with which to do their job much better than they do. Likewise, due to the rigorous employment and demands in certain sectors, the majority decide to specialize.

For this reason, there are many professional photographers dedicated exclusively to an area that turns out to be their forte. They exist of all kinds and specialized in many areas that you probably have no idea about. Being one of the largest specializations that focuses on the athletic and sports world.

[su_note note_color=”#c9ecff” radius=”4″]There are even other specializations within the areas themselves; there are extreme sports photographers, others from open fields. The truth is that each of them has its own style, just as each sport has its own game. But, without a doubt, each of them has in common how they configure their camera for a photo.[/su_note]

How to Set up a Camera for Sports Photography?

How to Set up a Camera for Sports Photography?

Taking sports photography is not a simple task, and it has its own techniques while observing how it adapts. Because it must be essential that the photographer adapt his tools to the sport he is responsible for photographing. There are, in fact, certain elements and a configuration that must be done before taking any sport shot.

With a continuous movement, away from the scenes, on certain occasions outside the playing field, taking shots like this is complex. Although with the configuration that is done, it is possible to solve the work. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the following series of steps to carry out the job easily and optimally:

  1. Shoot in manual, that is, adjust the camera to control the shots and not miss any chance. This setting is ideal when working in standard environments and without leaving the location.
  2. The files must be in RAW or almost always in this format, although it depends on the photographer. Many times this setting is better because you have control when adjusting the photograph for the final shot.
  3. Adjusting the shutter speed, since these are shots at high speed, with athletes from one side to the other, you must work with fast approaches to capture them well. However, depending on the sport in which you work, a very slow shutter can be useful for automotive, cycling, or similar activities.
  4. Adapt the aperture to the shutter. Depending on the speed that is chosen, the aperture of the camera must adjust. In this way, you can compensate one thing to obtain an ideal photograph without a lack of light or focus.
  5. Adjust the ISO, due to the high speed at which the camera is set up for sports photography. The ISO will complement the spaces in which there is not much light so that the ideal shot can obtain the first time.
  6. You have to modify the burst system, but in certain sports, especially those in which there is fast action. To capture instantaneous moments, you have to use the burst system and then decide which of the shots the best is.
  7. Graduate the measurement. This due to the precision with which certain photos must capture. That is why it is necessary to understand the environment. This will allow the clearest possible photos to be taken in dark places and with artificial light.
  8. Keep the camera stabilizer on, so that movements are avoided at the most opportune moment. If you have to make sudden movements depending on the shot, the camera must still be stable.
  9. Set the focus, especially for photos taken in motion, such as aerial sports. Thus, even if the athlete is in the skies or on the ground in a sprint, the camera will focus on him, and he will not lose it that easily.

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Which Camera Model is Best For Sports Photography?

Because in most sports, there is continuous motion and the best fit model is Servo focus. Also called AF mode, it is usually achieved in automatic in some cameras. In case it is not so, it must activate. This setting mode maintains focus no matter what happens at the setpoints.

AF mode becomes the ideal focus for contact and team sports photography. These types of settings make the camera keep its sights on two points determined by the photographer. Making that, despite the movement, you do not lose sight of the already pre-established objective.

The importance of this camera mode for sports photography is because the athlete’s focus is not lost. When taking shots of the most popular sports, such as soccer or basketball, the shots are made every moment. In this way, the AF focus allows really great shots to be achieved in a matter of seconds.

How do I Set Up My Camera for Action Shots?

The burst system must be adapted to capture moments in a game or the seconds in which a certain play is made. This is what will capture the speed shots for those moments when the action happens. Therefore, to avoid losing those moments in which a game can be defined, firing a burst may be the best option.

In general, all current cameras have this system included in each of their configuration options. All you have to do is adjust your burst system to take advantage of decisive sequences. Without a doubt, this is the most comprehensive option you can get for capturing action shots in sports photography.

The camera setup that meets all the requirements for action shots that are snapshot is burst. This is because this system of captures in continuous sequence allows the complete moment to be apprehended. This configuration makes the most decisive seconds in the sport you get from start to finish without losing anything.

How do you Shoot Sports Photography in Low Light?

Since most sports occur at night and under artificial light from poles in venues or stadiums, the ideal is to set the ISO. The ISO is the control system that will compensate for the lack of light in the shots. Making the photos that are taken in dark spaces have a good resolution and do not lack sharpness.

This configuration is generally adapted to each camera so that it activates automatically depending on the environment. Now, if the camera to use does not have it, it must be activated manually and adjust the aperture. The opening is what will complement the lack of light in night sports venues.

Making each one of the photographs has the required precision, with the greatest accuracy and clarity. If both settings are activated manually, these can be adjusted so that the best resolution is achieved. In this way, even if you are in low light, you will still have an ideal photograph without a lack of focus.

What is the Best Camera Setting for Indoor Sports?

When it comes to capturing indoor sports, such as boxing or volleyball, you have to adjust the focus well. In these spaces, the photographer who is far from where the action is taking place must capture everything in the distance. To do this, the camera’s focus must manipulate very carefully until the ideal shot is captured.

Most of the time, the focus’s length will have to be adjusted to quite long extremes, and although they all vary, the average ranges from 100 to 400 mm. This will allow the action to be captured despite being far from the target. Likewise, these adjustments made to the cameras help when working with low light that usually happens in these spaces.

When working in closed spaces where the professional is far from the action, the light does not help. Setting the camera focus at long distances will help you get accurate shots. This is because the objective is being focused with great precision, making it have good sharpness, even if the environment is not the best.


It is undoubtedly one of the most demanding jobs and in which it is necessary to stay informed and aware of the latest. Being a professional sports photographer requires discipline and perseverance, and becoming respected in this industry takes time. In the same way, the equipment with which you work must handle with the utmost care.

Most of the equipment a photographer works with requires manual adjustments, which is the difference that the shot makes. It is not simply about taking photos at the ideal moments; it is necessary patience and control. Considering that the correct handling of the settings can result in total gain or loss of the photo.

Knowing how to decide when to do a certain setting for a certain show or a certain game will make a huge difference in the final result. Getting a great shot takes more than just the right focus – you need a complete setup of your equipment. But this will not achieve overnight, and only practice will turn persistent into an expert.

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