Five Live Sport Photography Tips

The Rugby World Cup begins today in Japan. With over a month’s worth of exciting international rugby matches ahead, we thought now was a good time to talk about photographing as a spectator with the intention of moving onto professional sports photography.

Here are five quick tips to help you improve your live sports photography.

1) Make sure you capture the action

To successfully photograph fast-paced players with limited blur, make sure you have a shutter speed between 1/800 and 1/1000 seconds. This should mean you get some great action shots with minimal blurring. If you’re increasing your shutter speed, remember to adjust your ISO, especially under floodlights.

Rugby is of course an incredibly physical sport with a lot of movement, so it can be desirable to convey this in your work. Bringing shutter speeds down to 1/125 and the ISO to between 200 and 300 with a wide aperture can create this effect. Just make sure you keep track of those fast-moving players!

2) Don’t get in the way of the game

Remember there are other photographers and other spectators there trying to photograph and watch the game too. Make sure you’re not stepping on too many toes when you’re attempting to capture great images.

If you manage to get pitch-side, try not to get too carried away with your work. The last thing you want is to disrupt the game itself or even worse, have a burly rugby player accidentally run into you! Respect and be aware of your surroundings.

3) Prepare your camera settings

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Making sure your camera’s good to go before you enter the stadium or the field means you don’t have to waste time capturing images, realising you’re not getting the quality you intended, and then having to fiddle about with the settings as the minutes tick by.

Depending on your camera, the settings may vary. Set your shutter speed, make sure your aperture is set to your preference, lock your ISO and check your preferred lens is clean and ready to go!

4) Focus on faces

Sports photography without some human input doesn’t convey emotion and tell a story as well as photography that clearly shows the players’ faces. Blurred images of faces aren’t as desirable to websites and sports publications, so try to captrure some crucial facial expressions. These can help your audience connect with the photographs and always serve as a better framework for newspaper articles.

Getting great shots of rugby players can also open up the avenue of selling your work. Whether to a player’s biggest fan or to the player itself, these photographs can be really appealing to certain markets, especially if they’re taken during a crucial or wildly entertaining and memorable match.

5) Embrace auto-focus and burst mode

Auto-focus isn’t a setting many professional photographers use, but in the fast-paced environment of live sports, it will help you keep up with the game and continuously focus on your subjects.

Setting the camera to burst mode means you’ll capture a series of images and then be able to select the best shot from that burst.

Opting for these two settings means you’ll have a better chance of capturing those crucial shots that are desirable to publications and potential clients.

Put your work on display

Create a professional portfolio of your sports photography with help from Loxley Colour. We have a selection of amazing products perfect for portfolios, such as the Classic Coffee Table Book. This customisable book comes in a range of sizes and features beautiful satin printed paper. Feature your business logo on the front cover and produce an extensive portfolio of your sports photography for potential clients.

Classic Coffee Table Book Key Features:

  • Sizes 8×8″ to A3
  • Satin print finish
  • Six cover options including image wrap
  • UV Print or Laser Etching personalisation
  • Ready to send in five working days

Order your Classic Coffee Table Book >