sport photoAll of us have at one time been enthralled by sports photos. It may be Kerri Strug’s gold-winning performance in the 1996 Athens Olympics, and the image of her limping after damaging her ankle on vault. It may be an image of the hot-tempered Marat Safin smashing a tennis racket after losing a point. Or it may even be a naked man chased around by policemen in the middle of a Wimbledon match.

We all love the human drama in sports images. Here are some photography tips to help you capture images of slam dunks, home runs, soccer goals, tumbling passes, perfect 10’s, outrageous sports fans, and more.

Know your camera

Understanding your camera’s features can definitely help you take outstanding sports images. Before going to a game, it is very important to read the camera’s manual and become familiar with its settings. While the rules and the position and movement of the players are predictable, there is somewhat degree of unpredictability that can catch you off guard.

At the snap of a finger you may need to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, brightness, or contrast in anticipating an awesome photo moment. Scrabbling through unfamiliar menus and settings in the heat of the game is a waste of valuable time and can be very frustrating as perfect photo opportunities come and go.

Find the perfect spot

You can only capture images of things that you see. The nearer you are to something or someone, the nearer you can see them. Taking sports photos is no different. You need to get as close as possible to your subject. Photographers with a press pass usually get to the sidelines and other good spots to take pictures, but you won’t be allowed on the playing field all the time.

Once you made it to the sidelines, expect to jolt with many other photographers for space – those photographers who have worked sweat and blood just to secure that million-dollar space. No matter what, get as near as you can.

Be familiar with the sports

Taking great sports photos requires an understanding of the sporting event. It is very crucial to know the game’s rules, the positions of the players, where they are likely to move after a particular action, and when the action is going to speed up or slow down. You also have to know who the star player of the team is or the history of the rivalry between the opposing teams.

Understanding the sports allows you to know where to position and what to focus at a particular time. It also helps you to snap the shutter at the right time. Becoming familiar with the sports enables you to capture a memorable event.

Don’t forget the fanatics

Sports is not only about the athletes, it is also about the fans who boost the players, trash talk the other team, sulk when the team or player they are supporting suffered an embarrassing loss. Sometimes, trash talking among fans result in brawls. Fans can tell the story of an event just as well.

Whether a wide-angle shot of the crowd doing "the wave’" or an extreme close-up of a fan’s facial expressions during or after a brilliant play, such images can help narrate a story. You can also take pictures of fans interacting with players: basketball players giving high-five’s to supporters, a fan handing out water to a triathlete, or a girl giving flowers to a gymnast.

Snap, snap, snap

There will be a better chance that several fantastic pictures will come out if you take more photos. Make the most of your camera’s digital technology. Games have a "blink of an eye" nature so you may find it extremely hard or almost impossible to capture each single moment perfectly.