Tips for Photographing Sporting Events

I have learned a lot in the past year working at The Daily Tar Heel, so I thought I would share some tips that my editors gave me, as well as some things I’ve picked up along the way!

Always shoot on manual. Before I started at The Daily Tar Heel, I had never used manual on a camera. I had always shot on auto, maybe changing a few of the settings around. But I soon learned that when shooting manual, all you need to know are three settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I found an article here that explains it pretty well.

Ditch the camera strap. When the photographer I was shadowing at my first women’s basketball game told me to take off the camera strap, I thought he was insane. I was pretty sure I was going to drop my camera on my face, or even worse, on the court. But, after the game was over, I realized that he was right. Shooting sports is fast-paced and you have to be ready to crouch into uncomfortable positions to get a good angle on command. If the camera strap is on, you’ll end up getting caught up in it, losing mobility, and may even end up with half a camera strap blocking your shot. Ditch it.

Wear comfortable shoes with a wide range of mobility. While the men’s tennis team may be wildly attractive, and you may want to look your best in hopes of getting their mother’s phone number to send her pictures you take of her conveniently-single son, it is way more important to wear clothes and shoes that can move around with you. To get the best shots, you’ll sometimes have to contort your body in the most unnatural positions, or lunge to the left to get the net out of your shot. If you sit in one place the whole game, don’t expect to have interesting shots. Move around to capture many different angles, lighting, and perspectives.

Sports require a high shutter speed. To anyone who is working for a school newspaper like me, your school newspaper most likely has equipment you can borrow. Because I had my own camera, I often preferred to use that. However, shooting sports requires really high shutter speeds – otherwise you end up with blurs instead of bodies! So, rather than attempting to use your own lenses (which are probably great for normal shooting), switch your normal lens out for your photo desk’s huge lens with a high shutter speed. It’ll pay off in your photos.

Concert Watch


Here are 5 concerts coming to the area that I am SO excited about!

1. Ingrid Michaelson | 04 February | The Carolina Theatre, Durham, NC

Although I haven’t listened to Ingrid’s new album Lights Out very much yet, I am a huge fan of her older albums Girls and Boys, Be OK, Everybody, and Human Again. I have heard from a friend that she is funny and puts on a great show. It would be worth it to only hear a couple of my old favorites, and I am sure I would leave the show loving her new album. I believe that hearing songs for the first time live is a cool experience and makes me love some of them even more.

2. Cold War Kids | 05 February | Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw, NC

I really like this band and this venue. Our Pi Phi formal was at the Haw River Ballroom my freshman year, and since then, I have been trying to find an excuse to go there for a show. I missed Phantogram when they came, so this might be my chance.

3. Alt-J | 03 April | Red Hat Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC

This band has produced some of the most amazing sounds to have ever hit my ears. I can honestly say that every song on An Awesome Wave is genius, including Intro and Interludes 1-3. Interlude 3 is even in my top favorites of the album. The harmonies, chord progressions, instrumentation, and lyrics combine to create a really unique sound. The new album ventures a bit from their original feel, but the songs Warm Foothills and and Bloodflood pt. II are reminiscent of their old style and remind listeners that they are a band that wants to keep moving forward and developing who they are without completely losing who they have been.

4. Walk the Moon | 23 April | Cone Denim Entertainment Center, Greensboro, NC

This concert is going to be a blast. Walk the Moon’s collection of upbeat songs makes me imagine a night full of jumping, singing, sweating and being shoved around by reckless teens and their watchful parentals. This will be one of those shows where you leave exhausted yet energized and ready to do it all over again … after a Cookout milkshake and a nap.

5. The Kooks | 07 May | Ziggy’s By The Sea, Wilmington, NC

Do you want to go to the seaside? / I’m not trying to say that everybody wants to go / I fell in love at the seaside… The Kooks playing at this venue sounds a lot like fate, considering the lyrics to their song Seaside. This band has been a favorite of mine since the songs Naive and She Moves In Her Own Way came out on Inside In/Inside Out when I was in 7th grade. Not to mention Luke Pritchard was one of my earliest celebrity crushes. This sounds like the concert my 13-year-old self has been waiting for!