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Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Chapter 10. Sports and Action Photography

Sports and Action Photography

Sports and action are all about capturing that defining moment: when the football player catches the ball, or the bat connects with the ball for that home run. To really capture the action and make it stand out, you need to compose the image correctly. It is important to be thinking about your composition all the time because the action moves so fast there is not a lot of time to recompose. Filling the frame with action, using a shallow depth of field, and utilizing leading lines can all lead to better sports and action photographs.

Sports and Action Photography

Kids' soccer games are commonly photographed subjects for parents. For this shot, I set the focus on the ball and waited for the kids to come into the frame. Taken at ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/2000 second.

Composition Considerations

When shooting sports and action photographs, you can use a variety of composition guidelines to help you get the best shot possible. Many times, I use the rule of thirds as a basic guide for how I compose my shots, and I rarely ever leave the focus point in the center of my frame but move it off to one side or the other. Filling the frame and using a shallow depth of field are both techniques that also work well because they isolate the main subject.

Fill the frame

One thing that gives your sports ...

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