A lot of photography requires being at the right place at the right time, but in sports photography that’s all it is based on. You could be at one end of the court and another photographer be at the other, and the guy on you end drains a 3 to win the game, and you capture the emotion on his face as he takes his team to the championship. On the other end of the court the other photographer is left with nothing. In sports photography, one needs to have almost a sixth sense for what is going to happen. I started to develop this by being around the students on my high school’s basketball team. I learned there different preferences and when they would take a shot. For example this guy on the team always would shoot threes, so I knew if he had a little space and was behind the line that 9 times out of 10 he would take the shot. Equipment is also a big deal in sports photography. The right kind of lens is crucial for football; most people shoot with a 300-400 mm zoom lens at the minimum. This puts them right on the field without actually getting on the field. Knowing the equipment and setting also comes with experience. Whether its shooting indoors or outdoors involves different lighting and different environment that will affect the photographs.
Two of the most well-known sports photographers are Neil Leifer and Walter Ioos. Both of them were photographers shot for sports illustrated, and both are iconic in their own right. They shared a gallery in The Annenberg Space for Photography called SPORT. Walter Ioos is famous for many of his photos, but probably most recognizable for his photos in Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Walter Ioos started photographing all different sporting events, but now he mainly focuses on doing portraiture. He has been on the cover for 12 of the swimsuit editions, and about 300 times in total. Leifer took his passion of sports and dove into other areas such as making movies, and time magazine. Leifer’s favorite person to photograph has always been Ali, and he still photographs heavy weight fights.
If you are interested in sports photography you can google their names, or go to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/index.html