Sports provides enough action, drama, and suspense worth capturing on camera. As a sports photographer, you are expected to capture those moments in a way that the viewer will feel those emotions as well.
To be able to do that, one must have the right equipment for the job. Admittedly, choosing the right equipment for a photographic genre as dynamic as unlike what is being shot by the documentary wedding photographer, sports photography poses a challenge in itself, especially if you have little idea as to what you would need in the first place. Let his handy guide be of help to guide those who want to get started in sports photography as to what equipment you would need.
It is assumed that your main camera is a DSLR type which is the norm for sports photographers. As such, it is recommended that your DSLR should have a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second or higher.
If you can, try to invest as well in a second camera that would be able to do the job in case your main camera is having issues with battery life or other issues that may arise in the middle of the job you’re doing as a photographer.
If you will be covering various sporting events, you will need a variety of lenses as well. Chances are, you will need one type of lens for some sports that will allow you to be near the playing area like basketball, volleyball, or other similar sports, while another lens for other sports that would require you to be at a safe distance from the playing area like football.
To give you an idea, here are the types of lenses you would need as a sports photographer:
- At least a 70-200 zoom lens to capture the action from the distance like if you’re on the basketball court or football field and you can only photograph the action from a distance
- A 17-35 wide angle zoom lens for those wide angle shots, as well as for group photos and portraits
For sports photography, it is also essential to have a tele-converter, preferably a 1.5 and/or 2x tele-converter to extend the focal length of you lens, especially if you are either on a tight budget and cannot afford a new lens or if you do not have a longer lens available with you at that moment.
It is also a good idea to bring spare batteries and memory cards in your bag in case of emergencies like low battery or low storage availability so you will be able to capture every moment.
Also, if the situation calls for it, bring a sturdy tripod with you to be able to capture the action better with the benefit of stability the tripod provides. Alternately, you can use a monopod to do the job if the tripod would be too bulky for you.
You may also need to have speed lights, as well as everything needed to hook them up, if you are covering indoor events for better lighting the venue may not be able to provide.
A rain cover will also be handy to protect your gear if in case it rains at the venue and if the venue is outdoors.
Lastly, your gear should be placed in a weatherproof camera bag for the protection of your gear. Make sure as well that the bag would be able to contain all your equipment and mobile enough for you to carry it from one venue to another.
Knowing the equipment you need and having them at your disposal at whatever sporting event you will cover is very important for sports photography. As long as you have the proper equipment for the game, you have at least taken a step forward in becoming a skilled sports photographer.