Editor's Blog: Rik Shares His Sports-Photography Tips (with Photos)

Editor's Blog: Rik Shares His Sports-Photography Tips (with Photos)

Focus on Individuals


If you're not familiar with both teams that you're shooting, find some time before the game to talk to fans of the team you're unfamiliar with (coaches are ideal, but they're rarely free - or accomodating). Ask them about the team's top players, the most emotional players - even the most unpredictable, explosive, or erratic players. Then watch those players for the first minutes of the game to get to know their rhythms - they're the ones who will provide you with your best shots.

Always remember that you're not shooting a sport, you're shooting people playing a sport. Faces are important - they convey the drama, excitement, dedication, and heartbreak of a game. Yeah, I know this is tough if you're shooting football or hockey - or even baseball, with its shadowy caps - but its true.

Rugby Sports
Here's a shot of two determined individuals - their expressions tell a story.


Don't always focus on the glamorous, play-making position players. There's a lot of heart to be found on the defensive line of any sport.

Rugby sports image
I love her "Wanna piece of me?" attitude.


If you're fortunate enough to be near the sidelines and a play opens up right in front of you, use the opportunity to focus on an individual rather than on the play as a whole.

rugby sports image
A study in concentration.


After a big play, don't always focus on the victory celebration - also check out members of the opposing team; the "thrill of victory" is uplifting, but "the agony of defeat" has a story to tell, as well. And don't ignore the crowd, the coaches, or the bench.

people watching rugby game
A pre-season, out-of-town women's rugby game draws only the most committed fans.





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Joe Davids

Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up
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Paul Nielsen

Hi Rik

Great article...enjoyed the humour and take on the game of female rugby. Nice that you are pursuing a hobby as well as spending quality time with your family. Best of both worlds!
After two years of landscape /travel photography I am now moving on to the sports photography side of things....should be fun. My 100-400mm lens is going to be working overtime.
Keep up a really good blog.


Jason Whong

I've been taking quite a few sports photos myself lately. I have to say my favorite lens is the Canon 200mm f/1.8L. But it's probably a $6,000 lens.

Anyway I loved the entire article except for that bit about the clone tool at the end. But then, I am always going to be opposed to altering photos.


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Will Howarth


Are you embarrassed to be working for this magazine? The switch to a new format is a disaster. I don't care about the loss of the old raffish and zany tone, but this new version is all design and white space and NO CONTENT, aside from your columns and those by Nikki.

I just spent some time reading through the Forums. Every time a subscriber wrote in to complain about the new magazine, the Topic was closed! I mean, that really troubles me. If we can't make a comment and express our opinion about what the New Order is doing, then why bother to subscribe?

I'd like to hope that things are going to change, but I don't really see that. When my subscription runs out, I'll let it die. I have a collection of issues that goes back to the beginning, and I'd like to give it to a library. That topic is also forbidden to discuss on the Forums, by the way.

Good luck, Rik. I hope you find a good job somewhere else.

Will Howarth, Princeton University





Great blog Rik. Not a lot of blah, blah, blah. It's a lot of pages, but very much to the point with a lot of pics. I've only seen one women's rugby match but I'll never forget how that changed my perspective on quite a few issues.


Jamie Berry

Your blogs are always so useful, Rik! I loved the recipe edition too, that was a great piece. I find pieces like these set your site apart from all of the generic Mac news sites, as much as I enjoy them as well. You've inspired me to look into a D70. Thanks!



I too have realized how much better a good wide [vertical or horizontal] crop can be. A good content rule to keep in mind [with any 'artwork'] is that objects that extend beyond the edge of the [paper, screen, print] creates additional interest in an object. By using cropping methods as stated above and in the article, you can bring more attention to the subject of the photo.

Good Tips, Rik!



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When the Stanford women played the Cal women at the beginning of this season, the Cardinal routed the Bears 60-5. Check it out here. But thanks for the compliment on the article.



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