Top Soccer Photography Tips For Beginners

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Soccer is known as the most beautiful game in the world. The game is full of actions, emotions, and drama. It is an extremely fast-moving game where you might be missing the best actions or defining moments to photograph if you are not prepared enough. Below we are sharing 10 amazing soccer photography tips which you will find helpful in your sports photography journey.

1.  Use a Longer Lens

Longer lenses are always preferred for sports photography. A shorter lens such as an 18-55 mm lens will not be sufficient to capture shots from a distance. While you still might be able to take some shots, chasing the ball or waiting for the players to come closer to you would result in low quality and lost opportunities.

Using a 70-200 mm telephoto lens can be a good start for better results. However, if you can avail you may also opt for cameras up to 400 mm range for perfect shots. It is also possible to use a teleconverter ( also known as an extender or multiplier) to increase the reach of a camera lens. Though in this case there is a possibility of increasing the aberrations and compromising apertures and focus speeds.

Football actions captured by longer lens

2. Shutter Speed

Soccer, like many other games, is fast-paced with many actions going on simultaneously. To freeze the actions without any motion blur, you should select a fast shutter speed of at least 1/800th of a second. This is particularly applicable for the most advanced players as they usually move faster than the young players. For such a young age group, you may select a shutter speed of 1/500th also.

Conversely, if you use a slow shutter speed, there are options to be creative with your soccer photography as motion blur can create quite interesting and unique effects in your photos. Panning means leveling down the shutter speed to in the range of 1/30th to 1/125th of a second.

Football player kicking a ball captured with high shutter speed

3. Aperture & ISO

Aperture determines the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor and controls the depth of field of the image. To shoot a single player, an aperture of f/2.8 will be perfect as this will perfectly isolate the player from the background noise. However, when there is more than one player, it is best to use an aperture of f/4 to increase the depth of field without sacrificing the shutter speed.
Once aperture and shutter speed are set, use the ISO to make up for brightness or exposure for the photo.

Depending on the selected aperture and shutter speed, for a bright sunny day, you may choose an ISO of 400. On the contrary, for a low-light condition, such as dusk, night, or cloudy day, an ISO of 800 or higher would be required. Different cameras perform differently in different ISOs. So you need to be careful in selecting the perfect ISO for your camera.

football-player-alert-at-game -top-soccer-photography-tips

4. Auto Focus

Selecting the correct autofocus mode is very important in soccer photography. Subjects that are moving all the time require autofocus to maintain the sharpness in the images. One-shot AF on Canon, or AF-s on Nikon, is not the best setting for moving subjects. Rather you should go for AI-Servo on Canon, AF-C on Nikon, which would be the best option for continuously moving subjects as it will keep the focus on a subject as long as autofocus remains selected.

It would be even better if you can manually select the AF points on your camera. In this way, you would be able to control the camera focus more. This is one of the main important soccer photography tips for beginners.

Actions on the field

Photo by Alexander Nadrilyanski from Pexels

5. Move Positions

A soccer event is full of actions, so you might find your comfort zone in standing in one place while everyone else around you is moving. But taking a bunch of images from a single place would be monotonous and banal. To maintain diversity in the images, it is important that you move your position. Obviously, you do not have to run after the soccer ball and capture actions. If you do so, there will be chances of missing great actions on the field.

There are multifarious ways to bring some diversity in the perspectives of the images. For example, you can try shooting from a low or high angle. Placing the camera on the ground will give you a worm’s eye view, while placing it above may give you an elevated view. You can also walk to different positions or ends on the field to bring diversity to your photos.

6. Burst Mode

Burst mode, also known as continuous shooting mode, is a camera mode in which a number of photos are taken in quick succession. During a soccer game, there are lots of actions going in between each individual click of the camera shutter. Cameras with continuous shooting mode improve the chances of capturing great action shots. In this mode, it is also possible to depress the shutter button for a period so that you do not have to rely on automatic reflexes to capture a great moment when it happens.

Goal at junior game

7. Learn the game to capture the key moments

Before capturing any game of sports, it is extremely important that you study the ins and outs of the game. One way to do this is to watch a few games and analyze them for key actions and happenings. Some examples of key moments are given below:

  • Warm-up before the game
  • Tackles, Dives, and Heads
  • Goals, and Missed Goals
  • Injuries
  • Final celebrations, etc.

If you get familiar with soccer, you will be able to anticipate the key actions in the game beforehand. This will allow you to capture more successful images.

8. The Crowd

It does not matter whether the game is being held in a big stadium or in the local field, soccer is not all about what is happening in the field only. The spectators in the crowd play a very important role in the game of soccer. Fans of soccer remain cheerful and loud all the time throughout the game. When we consider the game of soccer, everyone is active all the way. To capture a more diverse range of images, you must consider the crowd too. Crowd reactions add depth to your soccer photography. So, capturing the crowd is one of the top soccer photography tips you should consider in the first place.

the crowd in football game

Photo by Caio from Pexels

9. Capture the surrounding

Soccer is played in multifarious locations. Stadiums, dedicated sports ovals, streets, open fields, high schools- soccer is everywhere, astronauts even tried soccer in space! The fact that soccer can be played anywhere is the most basic aspect of the game. So you should be prepared to take shooting anywhere.

Do not forget to capture the environment where the soccer event is being held. Shoot subjects like a goal post, ball, terrain, and location. This will make the context of your photo clear to the viewers.

capturing environment-top soccer photography tips

10. Keep both eyes open

Most photographers are in the habit of putting one eye to the viewfinder while putting the other eye closed. For a fast-paced game like Soccer, if you do not keep both eyes open all the time, there are high chances of missing some great actions. So you should get used to keeping both eyes during shooting. Initially, you might feel a little uneasy, keeping both eyes open will keep you ahead in capturing great actions on the field. This method also makes the planning process easier.

You may also readFamous Sports Photographers.


Soccer is definitely a challenging as well as a rewarding game at the same time to photograph. As with any other sport, the more you know about the ins and outs of the game, the better you will be able to follow the best actions in the game and capture them in the frame. You need to understand the culture of the game to better represent it to the audience. There is another thing you should remember before going to an event, you need to ask permission from the event authority to capture the event. We hope that our top soccer photography tips would be helpful to you.

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