July 2018

Venture: A summer of sport

Summer always seems the ideal time to start getting involved in sport. The combination of warm dry weather and long light evenings remove many of the barriers to getting out and getting fit. Add into the mix the host of sporting events this summer – from the World Cup to Wimbledon to the Tour de France …. and you have every incentive to get involved in sport this summer!

Even if you are not particularly sporty yourself, you may find that other family members are keen to get involved. Many local parks and recreation centres will have opportunities either to join in organised sport or to create your own. You may well end up going along to watch and socialise even if you are not playing yourself.

But what do you do if you do go along to watch some sport and your nearest and dearest ask you to do a bit of photography of the event? You may not feel up to the job but if you follow our Six Simple Steps you won’t go far wrong:

  1. Location location location!
    The best possible sports shots are when you anticipate a moment about to happen then capture it. This means that you need to plan ahead and make sure you are in the right position to get the best shots. Whether this is behind a makeshift goal in the park or by an official race finish line – make sure you are there to get that shot!
  2. Get snap happy
    The beauty of digital photography is that you can take as many images as you want to then delete most of them afterwards. But the more you take, the more chance you have of getting that winning shot. If you camera has a continuous shooting feature – where you can shoot a rapid sequence of pictures – then make the most of it. You may need to take 100 shots to get a really good one but it will be worth it!
  3. Be avant garde
    OK, so when your family asked you to take some shots they really meant shots of them, making them look good! But why not indulge your creative side as well but taking shots that are a bit arty and different? Experiment with different heights and angles, focus on an unusual subject for your shot, or perhaps go for a deliberately blurred shot for something just that little bit different.
  4. blurred sport

  5. Get the light right
    For the best possible shots you need to get the lighting right. If you are using a camera that has manual focus then you can play around with three settings – shutter speed, aperture and ISO – to get the lighting just right.
    • Shutter speed: relates to the amount of time that the camera sensor is exposed to incoming light. For sharp action shots you need a high shutter speed (at least 1/500th of a second). But for a more artistic blurry effect try using a slower shutter speed.
    • Aperture: controls the amount of light that reaches the image sensor on the back of your camera lens. Aperture size is measured in focal ratio or “f-stop”. The lower the f-stop is, the wider the aperture, so more light is gets to the sensor. For example an f/1.8 lens is large and lets in lots of light, whereas a f/5.6 lens is considerably smaller and lets in much less light.
    • ISO: is an international measure of the speed at which your camera’s image sensor reads light coming in from outside. Lower numbers represent lower sensitivity to light, and higher numbers mean greater sensitivity. If you increase the ISO, you will be able to use higher aperture and shutter speeds without either darkening or blurring your photographs.

    Leo Francis

  6. Don’t be afraid to flash
    Flash can be invaluable for good sharp shots, even outdoors. It enables you to achieve a winning combination of aperture and a fast shutter speed. If you find that the use of flash makes portions of your shot look either over exposed or unnatural then try bouncing the flash light off another surface – such as a white wall – to balance the light more evenly.
  7. Look up
    Great sporting photography doesn’t just capture the game or race itself; it also conveys the reality and atmosphere of being at the event. So make sure you look up and around and shoot some of the peripheral activities that capture the ambience of the event as a whole. It may be the scenery, the crowd, your group of family or friends, or any number of things; but capture the moment as best you can so that you can enjoy remembering it for years to come.

Last but by no means least, if it is any kind of organised event then do check with the organisers in advance about what photography is permitted, so that you know what you can and can’t do.

Leo Francis

Then above all make sure that you thoroughly enjoy your summer of sport! We hope that our tips help you to capture some wonderful photographs that you will be proud of for years to come.