Attending a professional sports game is thrilling. There’s nothing like rooting on the home team along with good drinks, tasty snacks, and being in a crowd of hundreds cheering on your favorite team. And one of my favorite parts is being able to photograph the entire event.
Here are a few things I do to make sure I come home with some great sports photography shots:
First things first, when attending a professional sporting event, make sure to check the rules: Is professional camera equipment allowed? How will you carry it? Are backpacks allowed?
Research the venue or ask people you know who have been to games before. Ive been to several arenas where they are very strict on backpacks or professional cameras are totally not allowed. If that is the case, then a good old mobile photography will have to do. However, if they are only strict about backpacks, I just have my camera around my neck and a little sling bag to carry one extra lens and additional accessories I may need. Keep it light and minimal to prevent any problems.
If there are no lens restrictions, I recommend bringing at least a 200mm lens. My 70-200mm is usually on my camera the entire time. Especially when you’re up in the stands, a 200mm will bring you in nice and tight into the action. I also love a good wide-angle. The wide-angle shots are great for some context and give your viewer a sense of where you are and how big the event is. The 16-35mm wide-angle is usually in my sling bag and brought out only a few times.
Go Early and Get a Feel for the Environment
If possible, I like to go at least 30 minutes to an hour before the start of a game. That way I have time to wander the venue and check things out. Sometimes if you go that early, you can even go to different sections than your tickets and check out the vantage point from different spots. There can also be some possible backdrops for photos you may have never noticed. Taking your time is key to photography.
When I went to the CitiOpen in Rock Creek Park, Washington DC, I didn’t anticipate being able to watch players practice prior to their actual match. Otherwise, I would have not have been able to get such close-up shots of Rafael Nadal which was very exciting to capture.