Sports Photography Gear to Use: Take Two

sports photography gear

When you’re stuffed in the stands at a basketball game, or running alongside a soccer game, lugging lots of gear around is not a fun adventure. You’re more likely to break something out of frustration than to get a great shot. So “take two” and follow these hassle-free sports photography tips.

Two Lenses

  1. Bring a wide-angle zoom lens. You’re likely to want to capture full court, or stadium, or group shots.
  2. For sure you’ll want a telephoto lens. Either a 400mm fixed lens or a 200-400mm zoom lens.  Chances are you won’t be too close to the action – but you want your image to look like you were right in the middle of it.

Because sports are often played indoors or at night, you’ll want the fastest lens (a.k.a. most expensive) possible. If you don’t have a money tree, just get the fastest that you can afford.

Since a tripod (or monopod) is just another piece of equipment to lug around, you may choose to hand-hold your camera for lots of shots.

If you’re in low light conditions and need to lower your shutter speed, this can lead to blur. Try using an Image Stabilization Lens (Canon) or a Vibration Reduction lens (Nikon). This will make it so you can get sharp images hand-holding your lens at lower shutter speeds than you normally could.

Two Cameras

  • Problem: Chances are that if you stop to change lenses, you’re going to miss capturing something you wish you’d caught.
  • Solution: Don’t change lenses, change cameras.

Put your wide-angle lens on one camera and your telephoto lens on another.

Remember you want to be able to shoot several frames per second, so make sure you use cameras capable of this.

Take Two of Photography Equipment

Other equipment that comes in handy – of which you’ll want at least two:

Flashes. If you can get close enough for them to reach your subject – and not distract him in the process – you’ll want these to help with low-light situations.

Monopods. If you’ve got a heavy telephoto lens (and if it’s really good, it’ll be heavy) you’ll want a monopod to help you keep it steady. You may also want a monopod for an off-camera flash. Carbon fiber monopods are a good pick because they support a lot of weight but don’t weigh a lot themselves.

  • Why use a monopod over a tripod?
  1. Tripods are bulkier and less mobile. Sports photographers shouldn’t be either weighed down with bulk or immobile.
  2. Lots of sports venues don’t allow tripods. The bulky thing again.
  3. A tripod could trip a player if you’re close to the field.

Memory cards. Once again, if you’re shooting several frames per second, you’ll fill up these babies real quick.

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