6 Sports Photography Tips for Beginners

Are you a hockey mom who loves to take photos of your kids or the Vegas Golden Knights?  Do you have an amazing DSLR camera, but you’re not getting the amazing DSLR results you expected?  Here are 6 tips to help you get those amazing shots of your favorite hockey player!

1. Avoid using a full automatic mode.

DSLR cameras are pretty darn smart, but they need some guidance to create amazing photos.  You need to give your camera information about what you are photographing, in order to get the best results.  Auto mode isn’t great, in fact it is probably the worst mode you can use.  Your DSLR camera has many shooting options that work much better than auto.  So step one….get out of the habit of using full auto mode.

2. Try the Shutter Priority Mode 

You need a fast shutter speed in order to stop action and keep it from becoming blurred.  Instead of using Auto, try the semi-manual mode called Shutter Priority.  This is the TV (Canon) or S (Nikon) setting on your DSLR camera.  The shutter priority mode allows you to set your shutter speed which essentially lets your camera know you are photographing action. Try the higher numbers like 1/2000 through 1/500, depending on lighting conditions.

3. Adjust your ISO

There are 3 components to the camera that determine exposure.  The aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  When indoors (like in an ice rink), there isn’t much light to produce a perfectly exposed photo.  This is why photos tend to come out dark, or under exposed.  Setting your ISO to a higher number, will help you avoid under exposed images.  Since you need a fast shutter for action (which doesn’t allow for much light) you need to bump up your ISO considerably.  Try using 1600 or higher when in the ice rink.  If you are shooting outside in the daytime (baseball, soccer, etc.) keep your ISO around 100-400.  You don’t need the extra help from your ISO to produce a well exposed image, when outside.  One thing to note: the higher the ISO, the more “noise” it produces within the photo.  This potentially can distract from the quality of the image.

4. Use Continuous or Burst Mode

Continuous Mode allows you to take multiple frames per second, rather than one frame per “click”.  Using the Continuous or Burst Mode will increase your chances of getting that perfect shot!

5. Manually set your White Balance

White objects throw off your camera’s color balance.  When photographing in an ice rink, white tends to show up as a blue tone.  Using the custom option to set your White Balance will allow you to add warmth (yellow) to your image and avoid the ice rink blues.

Here is a great article about setting your white balance for ice hockey shots.

6. If possible, don’t shoot through the glass

Besides the reflections, scratches, and dirt… glass is just an additional barrier from light.  If at all possible, take your shots on the bench, in the penalty box, or through a media/photo hole.  If that isn’t possible, try to find the cleanest part of the glass, and consider bumping up your ISO.

By Rachael Rango

***Rachael is the photographer and owner of  Eva Stone Photography, based in Las Vegas.  Eva Stone Photography specializes in sports, lifestyle, and fine art photography.