By Don McPeak, Wire Service Sports Photographer (Retired)

Sports & Action Photography For Beginners

Language: English
All Levels

Course description

Using sports as a platform, this course provides beginner and novice level photographers a foundation for shooting dynamic subjects in a variety of settings. The student will learn valuable insights into getting those professional level photos at sporting events, music venues, plays, presentations, re-enactments, and many others.

In order to shoot like a pro, you have to first think like a pro. Knowing what camera settings to use is an absolute necessity, but it is the equivalent of knowing how to use the features of your car. Knowing how to turn on the wipers will not make you a better driver. In a sense, this course assumes you know how to start your vehicle. It is my job to help you become a Formula One driver.

Many forms of photography rely on the photographer to manipulate the subject and environment in which he, or she, is shooting. This course helps you understand what to do when your subject and environment are totally out of your control. You will learn how to anticipate and compose great photos in the most difficult of shooting conditions.

Action photography (Sports, street, weddings, candid, event, and basic photojournalism) is not a spectator sport. If you have a desire to learn how you can take great photos of dynamic subjects in interesting venues, then this course is for you.

Related Skills

Course overview - 66

  • Part 1: Lesson 1: "The Flyover"

  • Part 1: Lesson 2: The Four Elements of Action Photography

  • Part 1: Lesson 3: Having A Plan and Knowing What You Want

  • Part 1: Lesson 4: Defining Your Goals

  • Part 1: Lesson 5: Creating Your (Before) Portfolio

  • Part 1: Lesson 6: Pro Versus Consumer Gear - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 7: Pro Versus Consumer Gear - Part 2

  • Part 1: Lesson 8: Pro Versus Consumer Gear - Part 3

  • Part 1: Lesson 9: Pro Versus Consumer Gear - Part 4

  • Part 1: Lesson 10: Pro Versus Consumer Gear - Part 5

  • Part 1: Lesson 11: Accessories (What To Keep In Your Bag) - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 12: Accessories (What To Keep In Your Bag) - Part 2

  • Part 1: Lesson 13: Managing Light (Light Is Our Friend) - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 14: Managing Light (The Three Q's) - Part 2

  • Part 1: Lesson 15: Managing Light (A Deeper Dive) - Part 3

  • Part 1: Lesson 16: A Summary Of The Three Q's

  • Part 1: Lesson 17: Image Quality (A Discussion About Aperture) - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 18: Image Quality (A Discussion About Aperture) - Part 2

  • Part 1: Lesson 19: Image Quality (A Discussion About Shutter Speed) - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 20: Image Quality (A Discussion About Shutter Speed) - Part 2

  • Part 1: Lesson 21: Image Quality (A Discussion About ISO) - Part 1

  • Part 1: Lesson 22: Image Quality (A Discussion About ISO) - Part 2

  • Part 2: Lesson 23: Access To Venues - Getting Started

  • Part 2: Lesson 24: Access To Venues - Start Locally

  • Part 2: Lesson 25: Access To Venues (Safety & Ground Rules)

  • Part 2: Lesson 26: Access To Venues (Getting A Press Credential)

  • Part 2: Lesson 27: Access To Venues (Get The Inside Scoop)

  • Part 2: Lesson 28: Access To Venues (Know The Venue & A Review)

  • Part 2: Lesson 29: The 'Secret Sauce'

  • Part 2: Lesson 30: The 'Six Questions'

  • Part 2: Lesson 31: Creating Your Plan

  • Part 2: Lesson 32: What To Shoot?

  • Part 2: Lesson 33: Shooting With Purpose

  • Part 2: Lesson 34: Trigger Your Brain To Hunt

  • Part 2: Lesson 35: Challenge Yourself (Create A Vision)

  • Part 2: Lesson 36: Learn In Chunks (Don't Boil The Ocean)

  • Part 2: Lesson 37: Think In Layers

  • Part 2: Lesson 38: What's My Motivation...?

  • Part 2: Lesson 39: Adding Dimensions (The Three Elements) - Part 1

  • Part 2: Lesson 40: Adding Dimension (Backgrounds) - Part 2

  • Part 2: Lesson 41: Adding Dimension (Environment) - Part 3

  • Part 2: Lesson 42: Adding Dimension (A Sense Of Place) - Part 4

  • Part 2: Lesson 43: Adding Dimension (Merging Artistry With Sport) - Part 5

  • Part 2: Lesson 44: Tight Is Right (Up Close And Personal)

  • Part 2: Lesson 45: The Windows To The Soul

  • Part 2: Lesson 46: Rugby (Tight & Bright) - Part 1

  • Part 2: Lesson 47: Rugby (Into The Shadows) - Part 2

  • Part 2: Lesson 48: Rugby (Summary) - Part 3

  • Part 2: Lesson 49: Putting A Bow On Part 2

  • Part 3: Lesson 50: Types Of Light

  • Part 3: Lesson 51: Artificial Light

  • Part 3: Lesson 52: Natural Light

  • Part 3: Lesson 53: Managing Light Direction

  • Part 3: Lesson 54: The Perfect Shot Matrix

  • Part 3: Lesson 55: Readiness, Anticipation, & Reaction

  • Part 3: Lesson 56: Reviewing My Project - Part 1

  • Part 3: Lesson 57: Reviewing My Project - Part 2

  • Part 3: Lesson 58: Reviewing My Project - Part 3

  • Part 3: Lesson 59: Elements Of Composition

  • Part 3: Lesson 60: Orientation, Angles, Position, & Negative Space

  • Part 3: Lesson 61: Negative Space & Rule Of Thirds

  • Part 3: Lesson 62: Graduation Ceremony

  • Part 3: Lesson 63: Some Final Comments

  • Supplemental Lesson #1

  • Supplemental Lesson #2

  • Supplemental Lesson #3

Learners who have already enrolled in this course

Meet your instructor

Don McPeak
Don McPeakWire Service Sports Photographer (Retired)
My journey began on the sidelines of high school football games and progressed into a 'Bucket List' line item. In fact, I started out like many of you, with a passion for action photography and a hunger to learn more. But initially, I didn't have any instructors or mentors. I had to figure things out largely on my own. Over time, I got better at taking pictures and landed assignments with small local papers. Eventually, I got a part time gig with a local university, taking photos of their basketball games and from there was 'discovered' by a wire service and ultimately mentored by a Sports Illustrated staff photographer. While I have won sports photojournlism awards, I have also been recognized for my fashion / beauty work as well. (Finalist in two categories in International Fashion photo competition.) My work has appeared on magazine covers along with adverts for sports publications. (One of my photos was used by Reuters for their international ad campaign.) After nearly fifteen years as an award-winning professional sports photojournalist (US Presswire, USA TODAY Sports, Reuters), I am offering my experience and advice in this beginner’s class. With well over 10,000 published photos, I believe I have the credibility to guide you through this first phase of your own journey.