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

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

Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate

If you wait for something to happen, it's too late to shoot it. You must think ahead of the athletes - and to do so, obviously, it helps to know the sport. In rugby, for example, before a scrum the front line gets set together - it's a good opportunity for a group shot of three determined women.

Rugby sports image
Scrum happens - or, in this case, is about to.


Also, you'll often need to focus on where the action isn't, and wait for it to get there. For example, when I'm watching a San Francisco Giants game and Dave Roberts gets on first, I know that there's a good chance that he'll try to steal second. (He hasn't been getting on first much lately, but that's another story.) I then use one eye to focus my camera on second base, and keep an eye on him on first with my other eye. If he breaks for second, I wait a moment, then start shooting in sequential-shot mode. With any luck at all, I'll get one decent shot from the sequence. If not - well, that's why I shoot 250 shots during a game. Remember, one of the reasons you bought a digital camera was so that you didn't have to pay for film again - use those shots. Take a million of 'em.

Rugby sports image
If I hadn't had the try line (aka goal line) in focus and pushed the shutter right before the athlete crossed it, I would never have captured this shot.


Also, realize that you're capturing details that you may not even notice when you're shooting - especially if you're focusing on the main action. In the following shot, for example, I was concentrating on getting a clean shot of the ball-carrier. I didn't even notice the pursuing woman's bloody nose until I had opened the image in Photoshop.

Rugby sports image
As the old bumper sticker says, "Give Blood. Play Rugby."




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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.


Khurt Williams

Read why here:http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm


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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