Sports Photography isn’t as Easy as it Looks

College of the Canyons baseball player at the plate. Photo by SCVTV photographer Cory Rubin.

Every sport has its own unique qualities that make it easier or difficult for some people to participate in. Those specific qualities can also make it difficult for a photographer to capture the action.

In order for a sports photographer to capture the moment in any sport he has to be in the right place at the right time. Most of the time it requires skill but other times it requires a lot of luck.

Whether its by luck or skill there are sports that are much more difficult to shoot than others. Sports that are fast moving with a lot of action tend to be the more difficult sports to photograph whether it is on video or a still image.

“Football would be the most difficult to shoot,” freelance photographer Jason Wise said. “Being a one man show, I don’t have the luxury to play zone coverage.

“I need to do my best to anticipate what plays are being called and where the action is going to unfold.”

That isn’t always the case, a sport that moves slowly can be difficult because the photographer has to be at the ready at all times in case something important does occur.

“The hardest sport to shoot video for is baseball,” Santa Clarita Valley TV cameraman Cory Rubin said. “There are so many things to focus on, the ball, the base runner, the pitcher and the hitter.

“Plus you are trying to follow a tiny ball traveling at high speeds.”

In Allen Murabayashi’s Photoshelter blog he explains how an easy sport such as golf can be one of the harder sports to shoot because it requires a lot of attention to detail.

While it may seem difficult to shoot a good photo of an athlete running at high speeds in football, imagine a race car traveling hundreds of miles an hour.

Rod Johnson Jr. driving around race track at Irwindale Speedway in California. Photo by SCVTV photographer Cory Rubin.

“The hardest sport to shoot a still photo is auto racing because you have to be perfect to get a car traveling over 100 mph in frame and in focus,” Rubin said. “A sports photo needs to be clean and sharp, show action and tell a story.”

The environment the sport is played in can also add a level of difficulty when trying to capture the moment as Mike Blake examines in his Photographers blog.

While a good amount of skill and luck play into the photographer’s ability to capture the sport, David Peterson shares a few pointers on how making sure your equipment is set up right can lead to less head aches out in the field.

It may often look easy but it takes a lot of practice and effort to be able to capture a photo that people will remember forever.


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