The major part of sports photography is anticipating action. You can never get that great shot just by reacting. You have to learn the sport to take fascinating photos. You have to be as ready as the player on the ground. Otherwise, you would not be able to judge when there would be a moment which would give a good photograph. If you have the instinctive understanding of a sport then only you can be ready to shoot a really stunning photograph. You should be able to judge the situation correctly and get ready immediately.
Faces are very important in a sports photograph. Wherever there is a face in the photograph, it becomes more personalized and humanized. The face can make the viewer remember the moment when the photograph was taken. This makes the viewer interested in the photograph. Sometimes, face is not required if the photograph captures a very important moment.
It is better for you not to close your camera just after the end of the game. There are moments after the game has ended. In this way, you can take photographs of the moments of celebration and dejection. Please remember that if you take a photograph after the end of a race, the runners have already crossed the finish line. This is the reason why you should keep your camera always ready for sports photography.
You need to raise ISO on your camera, thus increasing the shutter speed which will, in turn, give you a better chance at getting the perfect shot.
Usually, professional photographers use shutter speed of about 1/1000 of a second which gives stunning results during the day time. However, to get similar results at night, you need to use a higher F stop, which may not be possible for your lens. To compromise on this shortcoming, you will have to increase the ISO of your camera. This helps in shooting brighter photographs.
You may try to innovate and be creative while shooting sports photographs. Make sure all the photographs do not look similar. Try something different – for example, instead of shooting straight at the eye level, you may try to lie down on the ground as low as possible and use wide angle lens to capture the scene unfurling in front of you.
Do not focus merely at the centre field – that is, do not simply focus on the game itself. Try to capture photographs of the fans cheering or their reactions at each goal or wicket or point scored. Their emotions will speak volumes about what a particular development in the game means for the player or team they are supporting. You may also use wide angle lens to capture the cheering fans along with a part of the sports stadium or field when the game is in progress.
Do not check every photograph you have just captured to see the results of the shot. There is a very high chance that you will miss out a part of the game and thus essentially miss out on potentially good opportunities of capturing the perfect shot. There may also be a chance of you getting hurt or damaging your camera equipment if a batsman hits a six and you do not follow the ball!
Sports photography takes not only skill and patience but also a relatively good idea about the sport itself and thus being prepared for what is going to happen, which will help in letting you be ready to take great photographs.