Sports photos of legends in the gym are motivating. They are inspired by the events of those days and this history of capturing athletes in action pushes your limits to accomplish goals in a sport of your choice. Inspirational sports photography is a vocation for those who want to pass on the meaning of competition to future generations as well as to highlight current events. Today we talk about how to do the best sports photography and ways to learn it by surrounding yourself with sports environments of all kinds and types.

Equipment Skills and Inspiration

A good thing about shooting sports whether it be cycling photography, footbal game, or choreography events is that you are witnessing greatness, photographing people who work so hard their whole life to master a certain sport or aspect of a sport. And these events are highlighted in many different sources from community forums to eventual competitions between photographers at different awards. To become a professional it is essential to have good equipment knowledge and inspiration to hone your skills.

Invest in the right equipment and gear

As for equipment, you want to have two main pieces of gear a good DSLR plus a telephoto lens to be able to work from any distance. All the equipment you have you are going to carry through different locations, and this is why having a good carrying photo bag is essential to be mobile. Take a look at Lowepro Photo Sport Pro gears as these packages are very convenient for sports photography in specific.

Focus on a sport you are passionate about

Other than that you will require a lot of inspiration which you can take from plenty of sources. Besides the obvious sports event participation you can find incentives and ways from magazines, and communities presented for all kinds of sports to share knowledge on the subject and experience exchange. Consider such magazines as “Sports Illustrated” and “Getty Images Sports Photography” as your initial source of knowledge about sports and all it’s surrounded by. And most importantly, constantly take photos so that you have something to compare with. For a deeper analysis of your performance in this regard, we can also recommend you visit exhibitions, photo workshops, and photojournalist awards to assess your skill among the best of the best which we discuss further in this article.

Photojournalism Awards

An additional incentive to excel in photojournalism can be the best photo awards. There are various events and grounds where competitions are held in various photo categories from sports to travel. One such event is the International Photo Awards which includes 11 categories for pro and non-pro photographers with prizes ranging from $600 to $12,000. Challenge yourself by participating in competitions that are announced on websites in the current regions. The site provides a wealth of useful information, including past winners, which will help you realize the skill level you need to become a winner. Register on the site, read the terms and conditions for participation, and post your best photos and you may be nominated for the best photographer in the sports category.

In addition to the IPA, you can also take part in alternative competition events by The Walkey Foundation. For 2023 entries have closed and finalists were announced on May 25. Here you can learn about the judges' criteria for the award and challenge yourself in accordance with the given conditions.

Photography Exhibitions

Visit various exhibitions related to photojournalism to appreciate the level of famous photographers and be inspired by them. On the IPA website, you can follow the announcements of current and upcoming photography exhibitions taking place all over the world. Among the recent ones was an exhibition in Norway in the Ornes city. IPA is one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the world, which holds not only exhibitions but also photo competitions in various categories. Exhibitions are devoted to demonstrations of modern photography as well as artworks of photojournalist awards winners that IPA organizes.

At the exhibition, you can evaluate the talents and creativity of both professionals and beginners because the flight of fantasy allows everyone to create real art. Here you can familiarize yourself with the works of photographers from all over the world and find them in social networks for a more detailed observation of their current successes.

Sports Photographers on Social Media

As mentioned earlier, exhibitions are a great way to get inspiration offline. However, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home by following big-name photographers on social media. Here's a small list of photographers you would like to check-in.

James Rushforth

If you are mesmerized by not just quality images but also unique angles, then James Rushforth will not leave you indifferent. He started his career with climbing the Alps adventure and published his first book with amazing images of the landscape and his climb. After that he realized that he would connect his life with photography and in 2018 he was nominated for Digital Splash Photographer of the Year.

Tristan Shu

By learning James Rushforth's angles you will be able to apply this knowledge and compare it to the work of Tristan Shu, a renowned stunning photography sports journalist who observes sports events around the world. By browsing through the gallery you will not only experience the diversity of the sports world but also travel to different locations with Shu's work. His current clients include brands such as Adidas and Uber, which speaks for itself about the qualifications of this photographer.

Russel Ord

Another one of the sports photographers who has gained worldwide recognition in the surfing world is Russel Ord. Originally from Australia, Ord shoots even in extreme weather conditions with strong waves just to be in the center of the action. The level of Ord's shots can only be imagined, as they are not mere side photos, so this professional approach will inspire anyone interested in surfing as a sport.

Kirill Umrikhin

Fans of extreme sports may like Kirill Umrikhin, whose client list includes Nike and Red Bull, which are sponsors of many extreme sports events. He makes unique photos where he not only captures impressive moments and athletes' moves image but also composes all this to show trajectories in the frame. Kirill loves all kinds of sports, from snowboarding to surfing, but he is especially passionate about extreme sports.

Michael Wilson

More classic sports through the prism of photojournalism you can contemplate together with Michael Wilson. As chief photographer for the AFL, he has been published in newspapers and magazines and has also won several sports photo awards as a journalist. Starting out with local matches he quickly built up an impressive portfolio, which you can now trace on his website. Wilson is positioned as a photographer of emotion in sports, allowing for a connection between fans and athletes through the lens of his camera.

Try to take the best from each photographer, because sport is not only about competing for supremacy but also about emotions and angles that help you convey and make your shots storytelling. All photographers are unique, and you can combine the best of each to create your own unique style by choosing a niche or a range of sports to accomplish your talent.

Sports Photography Books

Reading photography books in general and sporting events in specific will broaden your horizons and add to your skills and capabilities application. Surround yourself with literature devoted to the subject of your interest, because books offer a special view into the world of sports through the prism of breathtaking shots of athletes' movements and behind-the-scenes stories. All this will help you get to know the sport you are interested in, as well as the most famous athletes, their habits, attitudes, and more.

Golf books

If you are interested in golf as a sport for photography, then a book called “Remarkable Golf Courses” is a must-read. From this book, you will learn the locations of unique courses and the many extremes of the sport with illustrations. In addition, we would like to recommend reading “Golf: The Ultimate Book” as well. Here you will find a lot of background info on the subject among funny articles for your own entertainment.

The New York Mets

True baseball fans will not be indifferent to the 60-year history of “The New York Mets” reflected in the book of the same name. It contains interesting stories about the glory of this team and its individual personalities as well as passionate fans who built the title of one of the historically greatest baseball teams in NYC, who won the World Series in 1969-1972. Recognize legends such as David Wright, Casey Stengel, Keith Hernandez, and many more of the team's legends.

Surfer Magazine

Surfer Magazine is an anthology of the sport that dates back to the 1960s and up to the present day. It covers both the history and culture of the sport with excellent illustrations showing how surfing has evolved over the decades. The authors of this book have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and offer a unique insight into the world of the sport through the lens of their experience and knowledge, which they have published in this excellent magazine. This is both an entertaining read and a historical guide to surfing that is a good book to have on your bookshelf if you want to broaden your sporting horizons.

Formula One: “The Pursuit of Speed”

Fans of ultra-high speeds and racing cars will benefit from the book Formula One: “The Pursuit of Speed”. Here you will find the best moments in the history of Formula One starting from the 1950s and going to the present day. Portraits of the drivers, behind-the-scenes footage, action shots, and more. In addition to the section on rivalry and cars, you can also dive into the dramatic events of those days about the triumphs and tragedies that accompanied the sport at the time.

History of Tennis: Legendary Champions

If you are interested in the history of tennis, you will find an outlet in the eponymous book: "History of Tennis: Legendary Champions". This read is all-encompassing with the beauty, passion, and drama of every swing of a tennis racket in the beautiful illustrations on the book’s pages. Here you can watch the birth of such legends as the Williams sisters, as well as the formation of the WTA league from its beginnings and many interviews and stories from famous tennis players of all times up to the day.

Online Sports Photography Communities

Besides the exhibitions and social media following, you can also search for sports photography communities where you can join the discussion on the subject of your interest. As such visit DPreview to share and observe other photographers' opinions and artworks altogether. Another source of possible inspiration could be the PhotographyTalk community if you are interested in Action Photography in sports and share your thoughts on the subject with local members.

Sports Photography Workshops

As an offline community, it will be very useful to attend photo seminars or photo workshops from time to time, which are usually organized by well-known professionals. Here you will be able to not only discuss but also to learn by example from the workshop members. Such experience exchange is not available anywhere else and will be useful for both beginners and professionals. Sports photography workshops are often held in sports halls, where besides the photographers themselves, athletes are obviously invited and allow you to capture their performance on the prepared sports stands, whether it is gymnastics or any other sports. Here you can get acquainted with both masters in photography and athletes, recognizing people better you will understand the attitude of everyone to photography and can come to useful conclusions for yourself in this regard. Here you will also be able to share your current work and get tips to work on your mistakes and ways to improve your performance. But the main thing to remember is that every photographer has his own style and you should not impose it on yourself, just emphasize what is important to create your unique approach to sports photography, and maybe even the one who will give you advice will learn something from you at the same time.

Sports Documentary Films

Sports documentaries will help you to understand the heroes of modern sports, and their emotions, and will give you a glimpse of what you can cover in a unique way in your work. It is important to know the subject of your work, and sport starts with athletes and their journey. Documentaries allow you to learn a lot of nuances that you can also post in various publications under your photos on the same forums and community sites, which can involve and attract people, partners, and other benefits to your life.