Sports photography refers to the genre of photography that includes all types of sports. Sports shooting can be one of the most challenging types of photography, even to the seasoned advanced shooter. The slightest mistake or a lapse of concentration can make or break a shot.
One of the biggest obstacles to entry to this field is equipment. You need the right gears for the right job. It is basically impossible to take good sports photos without an DSLR and long lenses. It also matters plenty if those long lenses are fast. So before even stepping in this genre of photography, a hefty sum of capital is needed.
There are two main areas when it comes to sports: indoor or outdoor venue and good or bad lighting. Examples of sports with good lighting are (daytime) rugby, football, auto racing. Examples of sports with less than ideal lighting are ice hockey, basketball, indoor volleyball, badminton and anything at night and indoor. While some professional venue does have excellent artificial light that’s almost like daylight, there’s no replacement as our good old sun.
When good light is available, it’s much easier to use a lower-priced consumer grade lens and get reasonably good results. You can comfortably use shutter speeds around 1/500s and sensitivity in the ISO 200-400 range. This is usually quick enough to freeze all but the fastest action.
Bad lighting complicates matters because you’ll jack up the ISO, which increases noise in the pictures. This is where having a fast lens really helps, shooting at f/2.8 or f/4 will give you a lot more leeway as far as shutter speed and ISO.
Another thing to consider is using your camera’s “continuous drive” facility. It means that you don’t have to be absolutely precise in your timing, which is good when things are moving quickly. This is also important when you’re making a decision about shooting RAW or JPEG: the camera can fit more JPEG frames in the image buffer than RAW.