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Extreme Sports Photography Ideas for Pro Shots

8 min read
Snowmobile Extreme Sport

Some of the best action shots you can capture will come courtesy of extreme sports.

These are generally sports that have a certain element of danger attached to them, but you don’t have to be a pro sports photographer to grab some great images.

Here are some extreme sports photography ideas and tips that can help you out.


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Photo by Fygget



The best lens for extreme sports is a 50mm model that can get down to f/1.4 or f/1.8.

A smaller lens and camera will let you easily move around.

A wide angle lens will enable you to capture versatile and dramatic angles.

You should also take a  powerful flashgun if possible. This will enable you to shoot with a lower ISO setting, which results in less noise (grain) and a faster shutter speed.

If you’re in a low-light setting without flash you’ll need a higher ISO.

Recommended Camera Settings

It’s recommended that you’re fully prepared to take the photographs. The manual mode is the best for this as it allows you to control both the shutter speed and aperture.

Most outdoor extreme sports need to be shot at about 1/500 of a second or faster with the aperture at about f/4.


Snowmobile Extreme Sport

Photo by DigiDave

Scout for a Good Spot

Being in the right place at the right time is very important.

It’s a good idea when shooting this type of photography to scout out a an ideal position at the event.

You can use the shutter mode to freeze the action and pre-meter the scene before locking in the exposure. A 35mm to 50mm lens will offer a good field of view and will allow you to use a wide range of apertures.

Get Close to the Action

A zoom lens can be used, but it’s always a better idea to get as close to the action as possible.

This will also allow you to fill the frame with the subject.

In extreme sports photography you may also be able to get away with cutting off a portion of your subject and still coming up with a riveting photo. Try to represent as much energy as possible into your frame even if it sometimes means the subject is totally confined in the image.

Shoot in the Burst Mode

Extreme sports are fast paced and you don’t want to wait for the camera’s shutter to go through its cycle every time you take a photo.

This is where the auto-firing burst mode can help you out.

You’ll be able to take rapid shots one after the other. On most DSLR camera this option will be available in the auto focus mode when selecting AI Servo, which will allow the lens to focus on a moving subject.

If you’re taking photos in the snow, you should overexpose it by a stop to make the snow look white in the image.


Indy Car Sport


Show Movement By Blurring the Background

This is an often forgotten about photography idea that can really spice up your photos. You can represent speed and  movement in a photo by motion blurring background.

This can be done by panning with the subject while its moving.

You can try this by setting the shutter speed between 1/30 of a second and 1/120 of a second. You can then open the aperture up as wide as possible while keeping the subject in focus.

Hold your finger halfway down on the shutter to keep focus and track the subject’s movement with the camera. Once you press the shutter keep the camera moving. This should result in a crisp subject with a blurry motion background.

Try Different Angles

Here’s a final idea for your photography. Try to be creative with your shooting angles to capture the action from different perspectives.

If you’re close to the action try to use a wide-angle lens of about 28mm to 35mm. This will allow the movement and proportions to become exaggerated and the compositions will be expansive.

Don’t be afraid to get above the action or lie on the ground to get some spectacular images.

What’s Next?

We hope you enjoyed these extreme sports photography tips. Now that you’re finished reading, leave a comment below telling us which tip was your favorite and share any experiences you’ve had taking these types of photos.

Then, check out our related posts to learn even more ways to improve your photography.

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