Record the Energy of the Moment at its Greatest Potential
When people ask me what to shoot for in a sports image, I show them a photograph and explain that in most cases, it is all about freezing the peak of the action, the height of the jump, the maximum edge… ultimately recording the energy of the moment at its greatest potential.
Focus and Composition
One of the keys is to a fantastic shot is to focus on the eyes of the athlete. There is so much emotion, intensity and concentration that can be told through the eyes. If I cannot see the eyes then I pick another key point on the athlete to focus on. I set my Nikon to AF-C (Auto-Focus Continuous Mode) so I don’t miss the shot if the camera isn’t sure if the subject is in focus or not. I then pre-determine what I want my composition to look like. Whether I want empty space to one side of the image to give the sense that the athlete is moving in that direction, or space below the athlete going off a jump to give the sense of height, I picture how I want the final image to look. I pick a focus point where I want the subject to be to match the composition, and then follow the athlete, holding the trigger down lightly to keep autofocusing. When the subject is at his/her peak of action, I fire away and usually hold the button down for a few extra frames while following through smoothly to make sure I don’t get camera shake. I keep a good grip on my camera and lens, and use dynamic pressure by pulling slightly on my lens while pushing the butt of the camera with my other hand. I usually have VR (Vibration Reduction) turned on for sports images to minimize any potential camera vibrations and cre- ate the sharpest image possible. You can also use a tripod or monopod to help keep your camera steady.