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Youth Sports Management Tips & Best Practices

Sports Website Photo Tips: How to Take Better Smartphone Photos

By Paul Langhorst on 5/3/2016

As discussed in our Sports Website Cleanup Checklist, the best, low-cost way to give a sports website a quick makeover is to update the photos. Since the majority of photos these days are taken with smartphones, learning how to take better sports photos is key. 

Smartphone convenience does not automatically translate into quality photos, so to help sports website managers improve their websites, the graphic designers here at Engage Sports offer the following smartphone photo taking tips:  

  • Start with a great smartphone camera. If you are a heavy smartphone camera user, either as a sports website manager or sports parent, the better the camera in your phone, the better the results.  Several technology rating sites list the Galaxy S7 Edge as having the best overall camera. The S7 Edge offers an industry-leading 12-megapixel dual-pixel sensor, enabling the super fast auto-focus which is perfect for those action sport shots. Plus, large 1.4 micron-pixels and a wide f/17 aperture give it sharp resolution in low lighting conditions such as cloudy days and night games under the lights. The iPhone 6 Plus, the LG G5 and the Nexus 6P also rank highly.   smartphone photo tips
  • Position for shots in advance. Sports images are best when shown close up. Think about where the action will likely happen and move to that location or create a list of action shots that you'd like to take and stage yourself around the field to work down the list. If taking pictures through a fence make sure the fencing is not blocking the camera lens. The zoom feature on smart phones is not great, so the closer you can be to the action, the better (obviously off the field of play!).  
  • Use the burst mode to take multiple shots.  Press and hold the shutter button for a half-second or longer and the smartphone camera will start snapping multiple pics. Then select the image that shows the best details. The ball hitting the bat, the catch being made, an amazing expression on a player's face. 
  • Take from a lower angle. This allows the image to pop from the screen and is visually more interesting than a chest-height photo. 
  • Align images on diagonal. This gives the photo depth as opposed to a head on image and is best for staged photos vs action shots. The diagonal layout draws the viewer into the photo and gives it depth.
  • Take interesting and emotional pictures.  The group team photo has its time and place, such as on a team page or photo gallery.  To make your sports website truly interesting and inspiring, pack it with photos that are interesting and inspiring. Seek the compelling, human interest viewpoint while taking game pictures and around the park. Kids eating hot dogs, families watching/cheering at games, kids having fun, the umpire making a call, a player making a play, etc.
  • Crop photos before posting.  In many cases, using just a portion of the image is best.  Use software such as Microsoft Paint to crop photos. Some cropping tips:  crop the image to tell a story by focusing on a central image or characters, the tighter the crop the more drama conveyed, remove extraneous details to eliminate visual distraction, on close ups of people crop at eye level, avoid cropping limbs at the joints, or cutting off the top of their head, try cropping with different shapes (square, oval, rectangle).  
  • Clean the lens!  Athletic fields can be dusty. Keep the camera lens clean. Use the edge of a napkin or Q-tip. Press gently and turn the cleaning swab several times to thoroughly clean the lens.  

Following these easy tips will help you or your parents take better pictures that can be used on your sports website.  As discussed in earlier posts, a good way to get a lot of photos is to announce a photo contest. Offer a small prize if needed. In a matter of days you'll have more photos than you could ever want.  Post the winners on your website and remember to always have fun! Nobody likes a boring website.

Looking for other sports photo resources?  Check out royalty free sports clip art, which can be found here


Paul Langhorst

Co-Founder and Chief Technologist for Engage Sports, providing sports league websites, online registration and league management. Over the years, Rich has coached football, basketball, baseball and fastpitch softball. He has also severed as a board member for football and lacrosse organizations in the St. Louis area.


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