Tips for Picking a Camera for Sports Photography

Sports photography is an art form that focuses on sports and capturing the players in action. With the increase of sports culture, sports photography has increased in popularity. The main focus of sports photography is capturing the biggest and most important moments of a match or a competition. To do so, you must have a camera that allows you to capture high-definition photographs. 

Since sports photography is a big business and there is no time to take a retake, your camera and skills need to be top-notch. When purchasing a camera for sports photography, it is essential that you understand how it works and is comfortable with using it. These few factors and more can really define your sports photography journey and career. 

How To Break Into Sports Photography

A person operating a camera in a football field

When taking a step into sports photography, it is essential that you know how to begin building your skills. It is not easy breaking into any industry. Still, with guidance and knowledge, you can easily get started and slowly build up your portfolio.  

Here are some steps you can take to break into sports photography: 

1. Focus on a Sport You’re Passionate About.

When you start with sports photography, you cannot go into every sport or multiple at once. To really build your portfolio and polish your skills, you must pick one sport. Passion is also very important. If you choose a sport you are not passionate about or which does not interest you, it will be hard to take pictures because you won’t know what moments are valued among fans. 

The more knowledge you have about the sport, the better you will be at taking pictures of the competitors or players. You will also be able to anticipate certain plays and moments so you can be prepared for them and capture them on camera. 

2. Invest in the Right Equipment and Gear

When stepping into sports photography, it is crucial that you have the right camera. There is no one right camera that can work for every sport. If you photograph skateboarding or any dry sport, you may find that a DSLR takes the best pictures. You can then also invest in DSLR lenses and other equipment.

On the other hand, if you plan to photograph a water sport, a DSLR may not be the best choice because it is not waterproof. In such cases, you may need a water-resistant camera that you can use for underwater photography.

You should also pay attention to battery life and the camera’s fps. 

3. Get To Know Your Camera and Its Settings.

In sports photography, everything is very fast-paced, meaning you need to be quick when setting up a shot and taking a picture. To be able to do this, you must know your camera very well. Suppose you are unaware of the buttons and settings. In that case, you may fumble, causing you to lose that golden opportunity to take a picture. 

4. Find a Different Angle

Since there are loads of people in the sporting photography scene, it is vital that you set yourself apart from all of them. The best way to do so is to shoot from an angle that no one else is. When you are at the scene, you must think about where you can set up a shot so that it captures the action and also comes out unique. 

You can shoot from the side or try and get a symmetrical composition. The options are endless, and you just have to be creative with your shots. 

5. Build a Portfolio

As with any field in photography, it’s important to have a strong portfolio of work to showcase your skills. Start by shooting local sports events and building up a diverse portfolio of images.

Learn the technical side of sports photography: In addition to having a strong artistic eye, it’s important to have a good understanding of the technical side of sports photography. This includes understanding how to use a fast shutter speed to freeze action, how to properly expose for different lighting conditions, and how to use a telephoto lens to capture distant subjects.

6. Be Prepared to Work for Free 

As with any field, it can be challenging to break into sports photography as a paid professional. Be prepared to work for free or at a reduced rate in order to gain experience and build your portfolio.

7. Keep Learning and Improving 

Finally, it’s important to continue learning and improving your skills as a sports photographer. Take advantage of online courses and workshops, and seek out opportunities to shoot different types of sports events to broaden your skills and experience.

Picking the Best Sports Camera

A photographer holding a camera in a field

There are various different cameras you can use as sports cameras. However, sometimes the features that the camera offers matter more than the brand or the kind of camera you are using. In sports photography, professionals use DSLRs and action cameras where need be. 

Here are some factors you should consider when purchasing a camera for sports photography. 

1. Design and Shape

When purchasing a camera for sports photography, you must choose a camera that is easy to carry around and use. Some shapes of cameras are better suited for sports photography, where you may need to move around a lot. 

Additionally, some sports are best shot with action cameras, which are usually compact yet mighty. Here are the three most popular shapes that action cameras come in.




Box-Types are the most popular because they are compatible with most kinds of shooting accessories. You can also mount them on your chest.

Bullet Action Camera

Bullet action cameras are infrequently used due to their shape. They are ideal for mounting in handlebars and helmets.

Mini Action Camera

They are highly suitable for increasing your positioning needs. They are very small and highly flexible. 

2. Weight and Size

Depending on the sport you photograph, you may need to move around a lot. This can be difficult if you have a large camera, so it is best to choose a smaller, lightweight camera.

Smaller cameras also allow you to take pictures from various angles that you may not be able to achieve with a larger camera. For example, if you own an action camera, you can get low to the ground and take risky shots. Although you can also do the same with a larger DSLR, it may be tricky and may put your camera at harm as they are not as sturdy as action cameras like GoPros. 

3. Durability /Water Resistant

When purchasing a camera for sports photography, it is vital that you choose a durable one. Usually, action cameras are pretty durable because they have a rugged construction and are resilient to wear and tear. Nevertheless, whichever kind of camera you choose must be waterproof and weatherproof. This allows you to use it wherever you want. You can also use durable cameras more freely and take them on photography adventures as you won’t be scared to drop them because you know they will not get damaged easily. 

4. Budget

Before you go camera shopping, it is vital that you have a budget in mind. Cameras tend to be expensive; the more expensive your camera is, the better quality it will have. If you are on a budget, you can opt for an action camera, which is generally cheaper than DSLRs. You can find a camera around the $50 mark if you have an extremely low budget. More higher-end and expensive cameras are also available; you can spend up to $200 or more on a costly high-quality camera. 

Higher-end cameras allow you extra abilities such as improved Wi-Fi connectivity, image stabilization, waterproofing, and Livestream options.

5. Resolution and Frame Rate

Resolution and frame rate are perhaps the most important factors to consider when purchasing a camera for any purpose. The higher the resolution of your camera, the better pictures and videos it will capture. If you have the budget, you should opt for a camera with the highest possible resolution available. 

Ideally, your camera should be able to film in 4K. Frame rate is also an important consideration, as there is a massive difference between 30fps and 60fps when editing in slow motion. At minimum look for a camera that can shoot at least 5-6 frames per second. Additionally, a fast and accurate autofocus system is crucial for sports photography as it allows you to quickly and easily track moving subjects

In sports photography, you often need to capture fast-moving action, so a camera with a high continuous shooting speed is important.

6. Field of View

The field of view is the total viewable area through your camera’s lens. Suppose you are using your camera for sports photography. In that case, you must purchase a camera that has a sizeable viewable area so that you can capture more action within a single shot. Field of view is usually measured in terms of angle, where a larger angle allows you a wider projection. 

Look for a camera with a wide range of lens options, including telephoto lenses for shooting from a distance and wide-angle lenses for capturing a wider field of view.

7. Connectivity

Having a camera that has multiple connectivity options is crucial. Once you have taken your picture, you must also upload it. Many cameras come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to save your images online. This prevents your images from getting lost, even if your SD card gets corrupted.


  • How do I choose a sports camera?

If you are thinking of pursuing sports photography, it is vital that you have a sports camera with all the right features. Many professionals suggest that your camera should have good resolution, an ideal shape, and good battery life. If you plan on photographing water sports, then it should be durable and waterproof.

  • What size lens is best for sports photography?

If you want to purchase a versatile camera lens that can be used for multiple sports, it is best to choose a 70 to 200-mm lens. Usually, it is recommended that you choose a lens that has a longer focal length and fixed aperture. These allow your images to be of higher quality. It is crucial to remember that such lenses are also quite expensive. 

  • What FPS is food for sports?

If you are filming sports on a camera, you should ideally have a camera capable of 60 fps. This provides a smoother filming experience and lets you slow the video down for slow-motion shots without reducing the quality. 


If you are considering stepping into the world of sports photography, you will need a lot of practice and good camera gear to be able to do it right. Although, with time, you can learn the skills, having a good camera is essential. As the market has abundant camera options, it can be a bit difficult to choose the best among them. To do so, you must focus on certain factors. The design, weight, size, resolution, and durability are all essential factors you should consider before settling on a camera for sports photography.