Most football photographers shoot with a DSLR camera. These autofocus, never-miss, high-performance cameras make it harder to take bad shots.
They have large sensors for packing detail into your photos, fast and efficient autofocus, the flexibility of interchangeable lenses, and fast burst mode for taking lots of photos very quickly.
You can zoom out and capture the whole moment perfectly across tons of frames catching the player as they run off to celebrate. Or shoot from the halfway line and crop it to look as though they’re much closer.
It’s less likely a photographer, provided they have the right camera, will shoot poor-quality photos. Pre-digital, there was much more disparity. When I started in the 1970s, we used SLR cameras with analogue film. Lots could (and did) go wrong.
The humble monopod is an essential part of the football photographer’s kit. It’s essential for keeping a telephoto lens stable and secure when you’re shooting at slow shutter speeds to capture movement.
Because your camera shutter is staying open for longer to let light in, this increases the chances of movement blurring the photo. A monopod can help to keep things nice and steady.
The lenses are as important as the camera. And there are many different lenses you can use for football to get different effects and shoot from different perspectives.
But the 400mm 2.8 max aperture is the best football lens. If I look back at the best pictures I have taken, a lot of them have been on that lens. They’re great for getting the tight midfield action and edge-of-the-box action, as well as things like portrait shots of players in kit. If you had to have one lens, that’s it.
But I also like an 85mm prime lens. Though not suited so much to top-flight games, it’s ideal for lower leagues, where you’re able to get in closer behind the goal.