Taking Photos of Sports in a Nutshell

Every sport has its own “hot spot” where you can count on seeing a lot of exciting action. Here are some tips for some of the most popular sports:
Arena Soccer: The excitement is never far away in the soccer arena, which also means that the fans on the other side of the arena will also be in your field of vision. Try to score some seats halfway up the stands so that you fall on the players, and the stadium itself will become your background.
Outdoor soccer: For junior college, high school, or Division III games, you can often sit on the sidelines. Keep your distance from players and benches, and go to the end zones just before you score. Above all, try to anticipate what will happen and be ready for passing, running or any other game.
Baseball and Softball: Shoot directly behind the post, and shoot through the links for a shot for the bowler just as he fires the ball (perfectly framed between hitter and referee). Or shoot from behind the bunker. If the runner is at first base, pre-focus the camera on second base in case there is a close gouging as the runner is trying to advance.
Basketball: Hanging behind the backboard is a great place to get good shots, because this is where rebounds, scoring, and ball fights happen.
Football: Behind the net and to one side of it are good positions to catch scoring attacks, but you can go to the side lines to get good shots in handling the ball.
Hockey: Players tend to make a lot of contact behind the net trying to control the puck, so you can catch some good action there. Also look for movement in the area between the blue lines – the neutral area.
Tennis: Stand behind the court to take a direct shot of the player on the other side of the net.
Motorsports: Racing is a photographic challenge, because the action is fast, except when the vehicles are in the corner and moving a little slower. For better stopping of the action at slower shutter speeds, select a place where cars appear to be coming directly at you. A shutter speed of 1/125 seconds might work just fine.
Track and field: Several events take place simultaneously, so you’ll need to move quickly. As with motorsports, your best shots may come when the athletes are moving straight towards you. Or try starting the race when the runners start to separate.
Field events: Lots of action, and many different ways to film it. Unlike track, which tends to use the same quarter-mile track surface for its events, field competition presents more challenges. Fortunately, shot put, javelin, and discus can all use the same basic philosophy. Specifically, go up in front of the athlete with a small offset to the side (and far enough to be out of range) so you can fire straight while the athlete is shooting whatever they are throwing. Standing behind the landing zone is a good strategy for both the long jump and the pole vault, while being sideways and slightly behind the bar works well for the high jump. (The hard part is racing from side to side because the jumpers will be coming from left and right.)