5 Tips for Taking Awesome Youth Sports Photos

A mother taking photos at her son's soccer game.

If you’re anything like the parents who come to Rocky Top Sports World, you probably love taking pictures of your kids playing sports! Having some high-quality photos of your young athlete can be great for sharing with relatives, making scrapbooks, and enhancing your Christmas cards. Of course, your kids will also love seeing what they look like in action!

Unfortunately, taking youth sports photos can be trickier than it looks. Games are often chaotic and filled with hurried movement, which can make it difficult to capture all of the action. Luckily, Rocky Top Sports World is here to help! We did a little research to bring you five tips for taking amazing photos of your child’s next tournament.

1. Get a Nice Lens and Zoom In

A common mistake that many amateur sports photographers make is leaving too much space around the subject of the photo. If you are trying to snap a picture of your child passing a soccer ball, using a wide shot that encompasses the whole field will leave your photo without a clear focal point. Instead, we recommend zooming in tightly around the players you want to capture in your picture.

In order to zoom in without losing quality, you will need a longer lens. A 200mm lens should do the trick for most situations. If you have money to burn, you can purchase a 500mm or 600mm lens, but these expensive lenses are typically only used by professionals.

2. Change Your Shutter SpeedFour young women playing a game of volleyball.

When you’re trying to capture the action on the field, you will want to use a faster shutter speed to avoid taking blurry photos. The experts suggest using a shutter speed of at least 1/250th of a second for subjects who are walking and at least 1/500th of a second for those who are running. Some cameras come with a special “sports mode” that will automatically change your shutter speed.

3. Take Photos from a Low Angle

A photographer’s vantage point can have a big impact on their pictures. Typically, the pros get low to the ground in order to take the most dynamic shots. Finding a low angle is especially important for youth sports because adult photographers can tower over pint-size athletes. If you can take a knee or sit in a folding chair that is low to the ground during the game, your photos are guaranteed to be more eye-catching.

A hand adjusting a DSLR camera.4. Don’t Use Flash

Flash photography can be very distracting for athletes, so you will definitely want to make sure that this setting is disabled before you start taking pictures. In many cases, the use of flash is expressly prohibited by leagues or schools. It never hurts to check with those in charge to see if they have any rules about what photographers can and can’t do.

5. Constantly Keep Shooting

When it comes to youth sports photography, it always pays to keep snapping pictures. You never know when a big play is about to occur, so you will always want to keep your lens on the ball. Digital cameras can hold thousands of photos, so as long as you have plenty of memory space left, we recommend taking as many pictures as you can.

About Rocky Top Sports WorldYoung athletes playing in the Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl.

Situated minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg, TN, Rocky Top Sports World is one of the nation’s top tournament destinations. With seven fields, six basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, team rooms, and an onsite grill, our 80-acre athletic complex has everything you need for an unforgettable sports event. To see a complete listing of our upcoming tournaments and camps, check out the Rocky Top Sports World Events Calendar!