Understanding the Three Types of Sports Photos

Sports is more than just action shots. A great sports photographer captures each part of the sporting event, telling an entire story through their photos. You can also do this by focusing on three different types of photos you can take during a sporting event.


Action Photos

As the name implies, these photos focus on the action in the game. It’s the jump shots, the goalie saves, the finish line crosses. These photos require you to anticipate the action of the game and be scanning the field and moving with the action.

To capture great action photos, we recommend having a basic understanding of the sport you are shooting and positioning yourself in a place where the action might take place. Sometimes that means running to home plate to catch a runner coming home.

Men's Basketball vs FordhamEmotion Photos

There is more to sports photography than the actual action. Sports photographers also capture the emotions of the athlete and the game. You want to think about the bigger story of the game, more than just the plays. It may be capturing an injured athlete being support from his teammate. Or the fans reactions after a game-winning shot.

If you want to capture emotions in your photos, it is important to continue shooting even after the whistle blows. Some of the best emotions occur just after the play. And remember, it’s not only the players who have emotions throughout the game. Remember to shoot the coaches, the team members not in the game and the fans as well. Those types of shots can add to the story.

crowdlas02.jpgGraphical Photos

Graphical photos are not as well known as the other two types of photos but they are often the most spectacular shots. In graphical photos, photographers tell the story through little details and small moments. For instance, in a group photo where the helmets of the players are all pointed to the coach, giving his pre-game speech.

It’s the details that help add to the story like  the shot of a challenge flag lying at the coach’s feet or the catcher’s mitt lying alone on the bench. These powerful photos will add to overall story and look great in a portfolio. So be on the look out for visually appealing graphical moments during the games and look for the tiny details.

When you add these three different types of photos together, you are able to truly tell the story of the sport though your photos, which is exactly what a great sports photographer does in every game!

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6 Biggest Mistakes New Sports Photographers Make

When you are first learning a new skill, you are going to make mistakes along the way. It is simply part of the process. But there are some mistakes you can (and should) avoid to help you become a great sports photographer right from the start. These are classic mistakes that many sports photographers make but that can be easily avoided.


  1. Reviewing your photos after taking a shot

This is called “chimping” and it is a big no-no for sports photographers. Chimping is when you check every photo you take on your LCD after you’ve taken it. The reason you should not do this in sports photography is that it takes your eyes off the action. You never know what could happen next at a sporting event so you want to ensure you are keeping your eyes on the action! There will be plenty of time to review the photos after the game.

2. Stopping when the whistle blows

Even though the players stop after the whistle blows, it doesn’t mean you need to stop shooting. A central part of sports photography is capturing the story and emotions of the moments and those emotions often come after the play has been made. Keep shooting during time outs or after the action has stopped. You never know what emotion or moment you can capture.

3. Not knowing the venue and the rules of the venue.

It’s always important to be somewhat familiar with the venue of your sporting event and the rules you need to follow while you’re photographing. Depending on the level of the sport, there may be certain areas you can shoot from or certain places you are supposed to stand. You definitely want to be aware of your surroundings and the rules.

4. Using a flash

Flash photography is strictly prohibited. It is incredibly distracting to the athletes and will automatically give you away as a “newbie” photographer. You can adjust your settings to help you brighten up your photos.

Women's Basketball vs Dayton

5. Sticking to one angle

In sports photography, there are many different angles and ways to capture the moment and tell the story of the game. Great sports photographers understand the need to experiment with angles, anticipate action and move throughout the event to show many different aspects of the game.

6. Worrying about getting the perfect shot

It’s easy to do. We all want to capture the best shot of the game but when you worry or try to anticipate the best shot, you might end up missing something spectacular. Stay in the moment and stay in the action and keep shooting. During the editing phase, you can access the results but during the game, have fun, stay in the moment and relax. You will end up having much more fun and probably capturing better photos than if you were worried!

Wrestling vs EdinboroReady to improve your sports photography skills? Sign up for a class with DC Sports Photography Academy! You can choose one game to try it out or book multiple games to really enhance your skills. We offer classes for all levels. Our classes are live college sporting events where you can shoot the game with a professional, learn new skills and capture photos for your portfolio while having a blast! It’s an exciting and one of a kind photography class that you won’t find anywhere else!

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How to Find the Best Camera Equipment for Sports Photography

Sports photography requires you to capture fast-paced action and in order to do that, it is essential you have the right equipment for the job. DC Sports Photography Academy requires its students to use a DSLR camera that allows for the removal of lenses. This allows our students to get the best shots.

If you don’t want to make the investment just yet, we rent professional photography equipment for your classes. But if you are ready to invest in an exceptional camera for your sports photography, this article will give you details on what to look for in a camera.


A DSLR camera is a digital SLR or single-lens reflex camera. It allows for detachable lenses that deliver precise photos. DSLR cameras are necessary for sports photography because they have faster internal processing so you won’t experience a lag time after you push the button to take your photo. You can capture the moment instantaneously with DSLR cameras. DSLR camera also make it easy for you to shoot many frames for long sequences in a single burst, which is perfect for capturing continuous action. DSLR cameras give you an unparalleled level of control and speed.

Now that you know you want a DSLR, what should you look for in one before your purchase?

There are DSLR cameras available for all skill levels. Be sure to check the sensor size, frames per second and the lens mount so start with. Another feature to look at is maximum ISO for shooting in door or low light action. The higher the ISO you camera is capable of, the more environments you can shoot in.

It’s also important to pay attention to lenses for DSLR cameras. The DSLR gives you the ability to switch lenses, depending on what you are shooting. If you are a beginner sports photographer, you may want to invest in a kit. The kits include both the camera body and a lens. Purchasing a kit can often be a better investment than buying a body and lens separately. More experienced photographers may want to purchase more specialized lenses to help enhance their sports photography skills. The more advanced your photography becomes, the more you will learn about using lenses and choosing the right one for your camera and situation.

You will also want to make sure you have a high capacity memory card and a camera cover in the event of bad weather. As you progress in your sports photography hobby or profession, there will be more extensive lenses and equipment you can purchase. For beginners, finding the right DSLR camera is more than enough to get you started shooting like a sports photography pro!

You can find the best cameras for sports photography online or at an electronics or photography store.

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5 Tips For Taking Great Action Photos

Have you ever tried to snap a photo of your child running and it came out blurry? Or you wanted to get a great candid photo but your subjects were moving too quickly? Photographing action is necessary for sports photography but it can be a handy skill no matter what you choose to photograph. Although it may seem impossible to get that perfect action shot at first, we promise that it’s easier than you think! Follow these five tips to start taking fantastic action photos, follow these five tips.


  1. Use a faster shutter speed

A fast shutter speed is one of the most important things to capture action shots. The right shutter speed will depend on how fast your subject is moving.  We recommend choosing a shutter speed of  1/400 for indoor motion and 1/1000 for outdoor action and taking some test shots before the action begins to see how sharp your images are. If you notice any blurriness, increase your shutter speed.

2. Find the right vantage point

Vantage point is key for a great action shot. You don’t just want to have a clear view, you also want to have the best vantage point. Consider the different angles of your subjects and how you can best see their reactions and movements.

3. Learn to pan

Panning refers to moving the camera along with the object you are trying to capture. Don’t wait for someone to run past you to catch their photo. Instead turn toward the subject and follow it as it moves past you. This increases your chances of capturing a sharper image. Ensure you have a steady stance and keep your feet firmly planted. Then twist from the waist to follow the movement. When the moment is right, fully press the shutter button.

4. Pay attention to lighting

Lighting can make a big difference in any photo but it can really make a difference in an action photo if you are not paying attention to it. Increasing your ISO can help you in these situations. Raising the ISO can help you to see more light when you shoot at a higher shutter speed. Be careful to test this as if your ISO is too high, the images could appear grainy.

5. Always keep shooting

The one thing you don’t want to miss is the action! Keep your eyes on the action and don’t stop to look at the photos you have already taken. You can do that once the game is over and the action has finished. You could miss a crucial moment and the more shots you take, the more likely you are to capture that perfect action shot.

These five tips will help you improve your action photography skills which can lead to fantastic sports photography or a truly beautiful photo of your child in motion. Whatever your photography goals are, it’s time to practice! Let us know what was the best tip for you and tag us @DCSportsPhotographyAcademy in your Instagram photos so we can see your amazing action shots!

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Georgetown vs Providence Women’s Basketball

Last week Georgetown Women’s basketball took on Providence Women’s basketball and DC Sports Photography Academy was there to capture it! Our student Rajani had experience with photographing still life portraits, social events and parties but he wanted to enhance his skills and build a sports photography portfolio.

One of the areas we focused on during this game was the art of keeping up with the speed of the game. It can be tricky in sports photography to stay on top of all of the action. It is key to keep people in focus and compose the shot properly.

Over the course of this game, Rajani was able to keep up with the fast-paced and captured some incredible photos!

The Hoyas also scored a win, defeating their opponent 72-70 in overtime! Nothing like an overtime game to help you learn how to manage the fast pace of sports photography.

Take a look at the amazing photos our student took below!

Want to be a sports photography pro too? We have packages and prices for all skill levels available!

George Mason vs Saint Louis Men’s Basketball

Michael wanted to experience a basketball game from a photographer’s point of view after spending a couple of years working for a women’s team as a manager. Having a bit of photo equipment, he decided to use his camera and a couple of lenses and have some fun.

This is a great example of how using a slow lens (f/5.6) and a cropped sensor camera affects the quality of your photos. Because the lens is not allowing as much light to enter, Michael had to compensate by bumping up the ISO to 6400 and dropping his shutter speed. This created images with motion blur and a high level of noise.

George Mason vs George Washington Women’s Basketball

Jenni recently graduated from high school and is looking to improve on the sports photography skills she learned while in school. She wanted to play with alternative angles, so she grabbed a 300mm lens and headed up the the concourse level to shoot. It’s a great vantage point for basketball and she made the most of her opportunity.

She had a blast shooting the game and is interested in covering more games with DC Sports Photography Academy.

George Mason vs George Washington Women’s Basketball

Bill decided to take a long break between games but his photos show that he didn’t miss a beat. It’s a great mixture of loose and tight shots for both teams.

I hope had a great time with DC Sports Photography Academy and I’d love to see him out on the sidelines again sometime soon.

George Mason vs VCU Men’s Basketball

For his final game, Charles took on the virtual role of VCU’s team photographer assigned to cover just the team. With having to concentrate on just half of the players on the court he was able to get a few more details that would have otherwise escaped him.

He seems to have grasped to concept of shooting sports fairly well in a short while. Only time will tell if he decides to continue with sports or will stick to what he knows best.

Georgetown vs Marquette Women’s Basketball

Feeling a bit more comfortable with the speed of college basketball games, Charles’ next game had him take on the role of the team photographer for the Marquette Golden Eagles. He seems to have gotten a better idea of what to shoot with only having to deal with one team. By only having to deal with five players instead of ten, he was able to pick out some details that he missed on his first outing.