A Sports Photographer’s Eye for Action

College of the Canyons quarterback Justin Arias leaps over a defender. Photo by SCTV photographer Cory Rubin.

Capturing an image is simple, right? Just point a cell phone toward an object and snap the picture. With the latest advancements in technology taking a picture has become that easy but it will never be that easy to capture a memorable sports photo.

Either by video or a still photo everyone’s jaw has dropped at one point or another from seeing a mesmerizing sports image. Every sports photographer’s goal is to captivate their audience while telling a story, but obtaining this goal isn’t as easy as one may think.

As photo.net explains in their guide to sports photography, the most important key to capturing a sports image is location. Choosing a location can be difficult because the photographer has to imagine in his head every possible outcome that may occur before it does. In order to do that a good photographer will have good knowledge of every sport so he can predict what is going to occur and when.

“A photographer that shows up to photograph an event, yet does not know what to expect from a particular sport will have a tough time capturing interesting images,” freelance photographer Jason Wise said. “Which is directly related to one element of success for a sports photographer is anticipation of what’s going to happen next.”

Another aspect of choosing a good location is envisioning what the angle will look like before the image is captured without putting yourself in harms way.

“You always want the action coming towards you as much as possible,” Santa Clarita Valley TV cameraman Cory Rubin said. “But you also need to be aware of where the action is to avoid getting hurt or losing a camera.”

A College of the Canyons receiver makes a grab in practice. Photo by SCVTV photographer Cory Rubin.

Every sport is unique and they each have their own level of difficulty. Some sports require patience while others require the photographer’s attention constantly so they don’t miss an important moment. The New York Institute of Photography shares specific tips on how to achieve a quality sports photo for each individual sport.

Action sports such as surfing, skateboarding, cycling and many others also have their own unique qualities when it comes to photographing them as professional sports photographer Jordan Weeks shares in his blog. Capturing mesmerizing images in these sports often requires an advanced camera with low shutter speeds to create effects that stand out more in action sports such as the water coming off of a surf board.

While capturing images may be getting easier with technology, sports photographers will always be unique and will always need the skills to be able to find that next image that will leave the viewer’s jaw on the ground.


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