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Terry Donnelly's Three Top Tips Back Button Focus Shutter Speed Anticipation - part 4 of 1 2 3 4

by Terry Donnelly Published 26/03/2020

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3 Anticipation – know your sport

At times, sports can be played at breakneck speed and being able to anticipate the next phase of play is imperative if you are to catch that perfectly timed shot at peak action. The only way you can anticipate the play as it unfolds is to understand the sport you are shooting. If you do not understand these basics then you have an uphill struggle and will be relying on getting lucky with a shot. My camera fires 20 frames per second and during peak action in top flight football I may have the ball in shot once or twice from 20fps at peak action, so it is really important to be able to anticipate the play or you may miss the action completely.


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Now you may think, how do I anticipate what way a player will run or pass a ball? Well the answer is that if you understand the rules and purpose of the sport you are shooting and have experience of shooting it, then anticipation becomes much easier. You get accustomed to anticipating the options a player has and which way they are likely to run or pass a ball. You won’t get it right all of the time, but if you know the sport you are shooting you have a much higher chance of anticipating play and being in position to get that shot! So, if you are shooting a sport for the first time then research it and watch it online to get a greater understanding and appreciation of the way the sport moves. This of course will never replace shooting pitch-side where things seem to happen a lot faster – you are closer to the action, often shooting through a long lens with a narrow view.

So that’s my top three tips for shooting sports photography – try to make it along to my Masterclass at Convention 2020 where I will be sharing much more.


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1st Published 26/03/2020
last update 26/03/2020 16:04:55

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Updated 26/03/2020 16:04:55 Last Modified: Thursday, 26 March 2020