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Sports Photography: Great Shots from the Sidelines

Tips and tricks for getting the most on the sidelines with the Sigma 18-300mm 3.5-6.3

This is a guest article authored by Steve Chesler on behalf of Sigma Photo.

Simple tips and tricks that will help you capture those perfect sports shots, despite your spot on the sidelines. You'll look like your were right in the middle of the action catching these great moments of the game in a picture.

The summer youth sports season is well underway, so I pulled out my
trusted Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 lens to capture some of the action. With a little know-how and proper technique, this compact gem of a lens can capture great action without emptying your wallet. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to get great shots from the sidelines.

Know the Sport You’re Shooting – As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.” Knowing the sport you are shooting goes a long way in being able to anticipate where the action is going to be. Taking a little bit of time to research the sport and talking to those who have played it before will increase your successful shots tenfold.


Change Your Perspective – One of the best ways to take more interesting photos is to change your perspective and isolate your subject. Get down low to place your subject higher relative to the background horizon. Separating your subject from distractions in the background will make for a more dynamic photo. When I shoot action, I’m usually in Aperture Priority mode with the F-Stop set to the widest setting. Not only does this create a more shallow depth-of-field, which isolates the subject against the softer focus background, it also gives me the maximum shutter speed for the given amount of light to stop the action.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Isolating your subject against a soft focus background adds drama to your photos.’ #Sports #Photography @amomstake” quote=”‘Isolating your subject against a soft focus background adds drama to your photos.'”]

Shoot Smoothly with Fast Shutter Speed – Shooting with a lens as versatile as the Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 allows you to get really intimate with the action on the 300mm end. Having such a powerful zoom does create its challenges, though. The stronger the zoom, the more any camera shaking will be magnified. Setting the camera for a fast shutter speed will not only stop the action of the players, but it will also allow you to hand-hold the camera without ruining your shots with an unsteady hand.


Use a Monopod – That being said, I do recommend using a monopod to help stabilize your shots. If you’re not using a monopod, be sure to support the bottom of the lens with your left hand palm up and tuck your left elbow against your body.

Stay Focused by Using Continuous Focus Mode – One thing to keep in mind with this lens is that the focus changes when you zoom the lens in and out, so it’s best to put the camera in continuous focus mode (C for Nikon/Servo for Canon). The beauty of using this lens for sports is that when the action comes close, you can zoom out to continue shooting the completion of the play.

“The Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 is a sharp, versatile lens that doesn’t empty your wallet.” -Steve Chesler


Whether you’re out on a hike, on vacation, or on the sidelines, the Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 is an outstanding do-it-all lens that’s budget friendly without compromising on quality.


Thursday 28th of July 2016

What great shots, nothing is more fun than capturing those moments and having them forever for memories!

valmg @ Mom Knows It All

Thursday 28th of July 2016

I remember taking lots of photos when my oldest started playing sports many years ago. Motion shots can be tricky!

Allie D.

Thursday 28th of July 2016

I used to take a lot of photos of sports events when I was in high school for the school year book. It was a lot of fun. A lot of great shots are when you change perspectives and check various angles. I miss it. Can't wait to start taking photos when my kid starts playing sports!


Thursday 28th of July 2016

Those are all great shots. I have a steady hand, but I don't have an eye for really dynamic shots.

Amber Edwards

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

OH I can't even begin to tell you how much I want this lens! I need it for our lifestyle photos and capturing the kids in full motion in daily life! I love the freedom of range this one offers and still gives gorgeous crisp images!

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