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Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials

Shooting Unpredictable Subjects - Sports


1) Shoot with high shutter speeds

High speed subjects require high shutter speeds, normally 1000 or more depending on the sport.

You would probably need to increase your ISO by quite a bit to compensate especially if you're not in a stadium with floodlights. Flashes are disallowed in most major sports events.

2) Shoot in JPEG mode

Surprisingly, sometimes speed is more important than RAW quality.  Although the quality will not be as good, the chances of getting a shot at the right moment is much higher, and you can fit more shots onto your card.  You'll be shooting a lot during a sports event.

3) Two is better than one

If you're serious about sports photography, a second camera body is a must. Not only does it allow you to have two different lenses ready to fire at a moment's notice, it also acts as a backup camera in case one goes wonky or runs out of battery or memory at critical moments.

4) Knowledge is power – Know your camera, know the sport

A competent sports photographer needs to know his camera, including the pre-set assignable buttons by heart. You will not have enough time to fiddle with settings when an athlete suddenly starts performing at his peak in the game.

Knowledge of the sport is equally important. Knowing when the critical, exciting moments can happen helps a sports photographer observe and be in the right place at the right time.

5) Utilise technology

Technological advances in camera processing allow high ISO settings with minimal noise.  Advanced telephoto lenses with stabilisation built-in, paired with on-camera stabilisation can work wonders especially with the amount of quick actions going on.

A camera that can fire at least 6 frames per second is also recommended.  The moments you're going to capture will truly be once-in-a-lifetime, so be prepared for them.

All photos by Stanley Cheah.


Isaiah Tan
Profile of writer

A professional videographer with a love for photography, Isaiah Tan runs a video production company and a small bar in Singapore, among other businesses. He enjoys experimenting with different photographic techniques and always wants to learn and discover more of the world around him.
Stanley Cheah
Profile of photographer

Stanley’s love affair with photography began with admiring scenic shots on postcards. “I wanted to be able to take photos like those,” he remembers. In 1992, he bought his first fully manual SLR Minolta X7 to learn photography. But it was only 15 years later, in 2007 that he got serious, and started attending courses by the Photography Society of Singapore. Today, he travels less to such exotic places due to work commitments, concentrating more on sports and arts events in Singapore.