Using Wide Angle Lenses in Sports Photography

Sports is normally shot with a long zoom to bring the action closer to the viewer, but what if you want to bring the viewer to the action?

A wide angle lens is perfect for this. Because of its short focal length, a wide angle lens requires the photographer to get up-close-and-personal with their subject, therefore bringing the viewer along with them. In the photo below, we caught our expert teacher, Rafael, shooting with his wide angle lens.


Wide angle lenses will add depth to the photo. They help you keep everything with the frame in sharp focus and the view from a wide angle lens will make the viewers feel like they are part of the action. Can’t you feel the action in this photo? That’s because we were shooting with a wide angle lens!


Wide angle lenses are about capturing close up moments and being a part of the action. To use a wide angle lens correctly, we recommend getting as close as possible to the action. You want to be sure you are focusing the camera on your subjects. Sometimes this means getting low and down where the action is! This will create depth and help your subjects stand out in the photo in a way that draws the viewer into the moment. An example is the photo below, you truly feel as if you are in the circle with the team.


With more elite sports, you may not be able to get into the action to practice shooting with the wide angle lens. However, if you are shooting youth sports, there are plenty of opportunities to get near the action and practice shooting wide angle. Have a photo that you took with a wide angle lens? We’d love to see it! Tag us in it on our Instagram or Facebook @DCSportsPhotographyAcademy.

If you would like to invest in a wide angle zoom lens, you have many options. Here are some of the excellent wide angle zoom lenses for Canon and Nikon cameras!

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Georgetown vs. Duke Men’s Lacrosse

This past weekend, DC Sports Photography Academy and our newest student, Bill, were on the sidelines when the Georgetown Hoyas took on the Duke Blue Devils in men’s lacrosse.

Bill has long been a photo enthusiast. When he son began playing youth sports,  Bill began photographing his games. He enjoyed photography so much that he began to upgrade his equipment and turned his passion for sports photography into a full-fledged hobby. He currently photographs for a George Mason men’s basketball blog and he loves doing it. He will also work for his alma mater, Elon University, when they are in town.

Before the game, we worked with Bill on setting up his camera for fast action and finding the right shooting location. It can be difficult to find the right spot and get focused during fast action play but as the game continued, Bill became more comfortable.

After the game ended, we talked about the best techniques for editing photos. We went through his photos together so we could offer him pointers on how to edit each photo so that the finished photo is truly spectacular.

As you can see in the incredible photos below, Bill caught on quickly! Now that Bill is armed with more knowledge and skills, we can’t wait to see how Bill takes his lessons with DC Sports Photography Academy and continues to shoot fantastic sports photos!


Are you ready to start shooting like a pro, like Bill? All skill levels are welcome at DC Sports Photography Academy! Visit our Packages page here to learn more about our packages and book your game today!

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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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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