When shooting sports–Shoot Variety to capture Athleticism and Competition

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1400, ƒ/11, 1/2000

When covering sports you are looking to communicate the athleticism and the competition. Here I went low for a good reason.

When you get below eye level of your subject you give them power. When you get really low as I did here you start to make the athletes look like the “Roman gods.” We even name many of our sports teams after Greek names like Spartans.

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1400, ƒ/11, 1/2000

Now here I am standing in the same position but the camera is at my standing eye level height. The thing that makes this photo work is the aspect of “competition.” You can see all the racers tightly packed and looking for opportunity to move ahead in the pack.

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 800, ƒ/6.3, 1/2000

Now depending on the caption this photo of the three riders can make this photo more or less important. If this were the leaders [first place, second place, and third place] this could be a useful photo in the story. However, the guy in the middle’s face expression doesn’t communicate effort. He looks like he is just enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon bike ride.

Nikon D4, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM,  ISO 2800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Contrast the earlier photo of this one that is shot a lot tighter to emphasize face expressions where I think these riders all look a lot more competitive in their face expressions.

Tips:

  • Shoot a variety of angles
  • Shoot with a variety of lenses
  • Look for body language to help communicate
  • Look for face expressions
  • Be sure you show more than one athlete to communicate competition
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 100, ƒ/22, 1/50
While this is a cool shot, it lacks competition. 
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/30
See how included others you introduce “competition” in the sport?
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 160, ƒ/14, 1/30
You don’t need a lot of riders to communicate competition, just one more will work.