Your ultimate guide to lenses for sports photography.
Learn how to capture fast-moving sports moments with helpful info on the best lenses, shutter speeds, and editing techniques.
Sports photography is exciting — it’s fast paced, dynamic, and full of interesting angles and movements. But capturing those moments can be challenging without the right lens, camera settings and editing skills. Learn how to pick the best lens for sports photography, whether you’re an amateur catching a neighborhood soccer game or a professional on the field.
How to pick the best lens for sports photography.
You’re going to need a lens that offers more speed and range than a regular lens in order to capture sharp and vibrant still frames of athletes in motion. Look for these characteristics when selecting your camera and lens:
- Shutter speed: Shutter speed is how fast your camera can take photos. Since athletes are always in motion, you’ll need a high shutter speed — at least 1/4000s is recommended.
- Motor speed: You’ll also need a lens that can focus quickly. If you’re looking for a Canon or Nikon lens, USM lenses focus faster than non-USM ones, allowing you to capture clear photos of a moving target with ease.
- Telephoto: Most sports photography will require longer lenses since you’re likely not on the field with the players. Lenses offering an f/2.8 are ideal, but they tend to be very expensive. If you’re newer to sports photography, an f/4 will also work.
How to make epic edits.
Whether you’re considering a Canon or a Nikon or anything in between, your lens is only as good as your ability to edit. Once you’ve picked your lens and captured your sports images, follow some of these tips for expert editing.
- Cropping is key: Action-packed sports photos can be busy and distracting. Crop out some of the background noise to focus in on the subjects at play.
- Create depth: With a focus on the players, sports photos can feel flat. Try blurring the focus around your subjects to create more depth and complexity.
- Play with presets: Adobe Lightroom has sports photography presets that help get you started. Try out different exposures and colors, and even change the perspective.