One of the great cathedrals of football, the Nou Camp, built in 1957, is home to Futbol Club Barcelona. It is also the largest stadium in Europe, attracting sports photography enthusiasts from all over the world. If you’re a sports fan and aspiring to become more accomplished in sports photography, here are some insider tips to take with you into the spring sports season.
Create a Feel
Sporting events are about so much more than just what happens on the pitch. It is everything from the fans singing on the way to the stadium to the lone guard standing sentinel in an empty Camp Nou. Capture the feel for the event, not just what happens between the lines.
To create that larger-than-life feel, try capturing the action from a low angle with a long lens that brings the action right into the viewer’s face. This will make any image more exciting and allow the viewer to feel that he or she is a part of the action. If you can’t get that low angle, try and capture moments that are significant to the game such as here where Lionel Messi is going through the goalkeeper for yet another goal. Without the low angle, I chose to give a larger perspective that shows the true one-on-one nature of this match-up.
Get Ready for a Foul
If you’ve seen any comedic film where a foul ball hits an actor in the head, you’ll appreciate this tip. Don’t be caught off-guard and try to capture a play before it’s over. You always have to be ready for the action before it happens. Practicing this can be the difference between photographing high school sports and photographing for Sports Illustrated.
Smell the Sweat
When the situation allows, instead of shooting from the stands, get close to the action! Sports are as much about emotions as they are about skill, so it’s important to capture the emotional reactions of players in your images. Some of the greatest sports shots ever made relate as much to the reaction of the player(s), coaches, officials or fans. Be aware of everything that is happening around you in order to capture the entire feel of the event.
Study the Play-by-Play
The more you know about a particular sport, athlete and rules, the better your images will be. You will develop an intuition when it comes to anticipating action, capturing emotion and shooting from the best angles. As with all types of photography, think, think, think, and practice, practice, practice.
If you have any stellar sports photos, share them with us on Facebook, where you can also see the latest photographs from award-winning photographers Jim & Lori Steinberg. Want to sharpen your skills pre or post trip? Check out our workshops here and practice, practice, practice!