children running through finish line of race

Shooting kids’ sports events

Capturing your own children playing sport is a typical subject for any action photography enthusiast. We all want to capture our children’s sporting achievement, scoring a goal or crossing the finishing line, and for us photographers the pressure is on to get that winning shot. Below are our top tips.

First and foremost when shooting kids playing team sports, make sure that everyone involved, teachers, coaches, other parents are ok with you doing so. Ask permission or check the school's policy on photography at any event and adhere to any guidelines such as not posting shots on social media.

Once you have the green light one of the first things you will want to do is differentiate yourself from all the smartphone photographer parents huddled at the finish line or behind the goal. Find a position where you can work comfortably without someone stepping into your shot or distracting you. Of course you also need to be where the action is, as with any photography; position is key. If you have a telephoto lens, like the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM or EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, you can keep yourself at some distance and still get some nice close-up pictures.

Backgrounds can be hard to keep clean at kids' sports events so look for the areas of least distraction. Avoid vehicles, advertising and anything that gets in the way. If you can’t find a clean background look for opportunities to include background shapes as context, a row of people cheering for example.

When covering an event as a whole try to focus on getting the best pictures the event can offer rather than simply focussing solely on your child. See if you can also capture other photogenic participants.