Sports Photography Equipment: Some Thoughts

July 6, 2006 | By Stuart Franklin | Creative

In response to Dave the blogger:

In sport photography it’s often possible to adapt ideas from one sport to another and achieve different and striking results. It’s all about being open to different ideas in different situations and not just thinking about the standard picture. There are enough people shooting the standard pictures, so to make yours standout and memorable you have to think: ‘What can I do that is different?’

I am often asked questions about what sort of equipment I need to capture particular shots at matches and how I approach each game. The answer is always simple – any equipment and bring an open mind!

A lot of football pictures are taken with telephoto lenses of either 400mm or 500mm. I believe it’s possible to capture different shots with almost every type of lens though. Whilst the World Cup is not the ideal example (we are assigned seats instead of being able to choose where to work around the pitch), there are pictures taken from every position, on lenses ranging from 16-35mm to 500mm plus a converter. I think it’s a common mistake to only think that you must shoot close- up action all the time – events are so much more than that. A telephoto lens is good to capture an incident, but it doesn’t show any of the atmosphere or colour surrounding what is actually happening. You may well have to wait a long time for a picture to happen on a shorter lens but when it does, you have a shot that also shows some of the surrounding stadium and some of the colourful fans.

For some matches at the World Cup, I had to shoot from a high position – you can shoot most of what happens on the pitch without the problem of a colleagues lens or a player getting in the way. It’s a safe position and the pictures are often published but for me, personally, it’s an angle that doesn’t make it easy to convey the emotions of the players (except of course when they’re lying on the ground!).

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  • Blaz

    Thnx for sharing us experiences from WC 2006. I’m checking this blog once/day, and i’ve already found few very useful “instructions”.

    Thanks a lot!

  • Marco Togni

    Blaz, use a Feed reader and you will receive all updates of the blog, so you can save a lot of time because many times you come here and you don’t find new posts.

  • dave

    Thanks for the insights.. I appreciate the time you taken to write this.. I am planning to take the following kit with me..all Nikon as I use a D2X, 10.5mm, 105mm, 17-55mm, 70-200 vr, and I hope to purchase a longer Nikkor telephoto and use with a convertor.. They’re expensive but I’m prepare to make the investment..

    Cheers again


  • David

    i recently got some great studio area lights from ProFilmGear at for a video production. They were quite a bargain.
    They come with Daylights bulbs. We need very warm lights though to create a certain kind of atmosphere.
    Does any photography or video expert here know any bulb manufacturer / brand that makes 55cm wide fluorescent light tubes (bulb) with a very low colour temperature?

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