people doing swim race

“LEARN BY PICTURES” – Athletic photography!

Photo by Malek Bee on Unsplash

Athletic photography, done right, can land you with some amazing photos.

Are you good at guessing? I mean guessing where the athlete might be at a prime moment? And are you fast enough to capture those amazing photos? Athletic photography requires you to, sometimes be able to point your camera in an area that you think your athlete may enter, and then you click the shutter as they come in to that area. OR you could have your motor drive on “continuous” and just follow them, clicking away and hopefully you captured something amazing. The above photo could have been taken either way: “Click” when they enter that prime spot, or “click, click, click, click” goes the motor drive following your athlete, and then you pick the one you like. Compared to film photography, this is something that seems easier, as you can discard all the photos you don’t want, and keep just the good ones. With film that was just too bad that you shot 10 photos, and only 1 is good.

Let’s take a look at some great athletic photos:

high angle view of people on bicycle
Photo by Pixabay on

Bicycle racing is not too hard to get good photos. With your cell phone, this may just turn out blurry, because you don’t have much control over your shutter speeds. To get a photo this good of a bicycle race, you would need to set your shutter speed close to 1/500th of a second or even 1/1000th of a second, and let your aperture be automatic. Or get a good light meter reading, with shutter priority, and then the aperture becomes secondary.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Water skiing is similar to taking bike racing: Fast shutter speeds, and follow them with your lens, and if possible continuous motor drive. Notice how nice this looks in this with the water droplets frozen in air.


Which photo do you like best? The most exciting is the one where they splash the mud all over. This shows the real grittiness of MotoCross racing. Amazing to see in real life. Also you need to use fast shutter speeds to “stop action”, again.


woman raising both her hands
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on

Obviously the best time to get a great photo at the track meet is at the finish line. Use a high speed shutter so that everyone is frozen, and no blurry photos.


man in red jacket playing ice skates during day time
Photo by Pixabay on

Skiing has a couple of things to watch out for: make sure your exposure is set to be just slightly overexposed. That way you actually get white snow, instead of gray snow. The light meter does not know you are on a white area, it thinks you are on gray dirt. The other thing that a professional told me once was: make sure that you give space in front of the skier. There’s a certain amount of internal discomfort when your skier looks like he is about to crash into the side of your picture. It really does look better to have some space in front of the skier. Try it and see.


man surfing
Photo by alexandre saraiva carniato on

Of course the best time to capture a surfer, is on a jump like this. This photo is perfect because even the water is frozen there. Obviously shot at a high shutter speed again at 1/1000th of a second.


There is 2 kinds of basketball games: the kind you did as a teenager, or kid, outside with the neighborhood. That type of photography seems easy: Just use a fast shutter speed, and you will be able to stop action (like the photo on the right). The second type of photography is done inside a gym or stadium. This is one you generally have to set your camera at a higher ISO setting to be able to put your shutter speed at 1/1000 of a second. So watch that when you get in to the gym.


person playing soccer
Photo by Pixabay on
football player with ball running on green field during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on
Photo by Pixabay on

Whichever form of Football you like (American Football or Soccer), the shooting will be the same: High speed shutter to be able to stop action.


people doing swim race
Photo by Jim De Ramos on

Swimming is one sport that is a true endurance race. And the skill it takes to do this is amazing. As you can see in the photo above (which is a good one) you don’t see faces much on this. But if you have a child, a friend, a neighbor you will recognize them. In order to get a good photo again, make sure you use a fast shutter speed, and also a higher ISO setting (like around 1000) to accommodate for low lighting. It is lower light than the sun, so just plan on it.



man in white t shirt playing golf
Photo by Nathan Nedley on
woman playing golf
Photo by Jopwell on
green grass field beside body of water under blue sky during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on

Same thing applies with taking photos of golf like all the other sports: high speed shutter to capture action. Now the scenery (photo #2) you do it like you would any other scenic photo: small aperture (F16, F11) and then adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

person skating on skateboard ramp
Photo by Tim Mossholder on

It’s amazing to me to find this sport so popular in just a few short years. And now it’s an Olympic event. Fast shutter speeds, and big lenses so you don’t have to get close (it’s dangerous out there).


man playing tennis
Photo by Jim De Ramos on

I think I have about covered every sport, and Tennis is really not much different than the others: fast shutter speeds, and a big lens.

football game
Photo by football wife on
Photo by Pixabay on
man wearing black tank top and brown shorts climbing rock
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on

123Photogo has 2 blog sites: This one that you are reading right now, and then the “Premium” website. Check it out here:

Now photography advances to include special information, photos, projects, galleries. If you love photography, you will love this.

person riding on gray kayak
Photo by Jaime Reimer on


Sports photography is fun, exciting because you are also involved as the photographer. Check out these photos:

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