Tips for Photographing Athletes

Jamie Cohen is a rockstar when it comes to taking portraits of professional sports teams’ shining stars. She has worked with many high profile athletes, creating stunning portraits of each of them. In this quick interview, she shares advice for up-and-coming sports photographers:

Sports Photography Tips

  • Get close to your subject.
  • Shoot at f/2.8 to throw the background out of focus. This makes your images look more professional.
  • Never shoot head on, facing the camera.
  • Catch the athletes in candid moments. Ask them to smile, then ask them to adjust their hair or shirt. In the split second after you ask them to make an adjustment, start snapping so you catch a genuine moment.
photographing hockey players tips

Connect with subjects to capture genuine expressions.

Cohen also notes a lot of the difficulty comes from the restrictions in place when photographing famous athletes, such as not having a say in location. She often has to shoot portraits in conference rooms and other places where she is not at liberty to build a set. She says you have to look at what you have to work with first, then start designing the photo shoot to make it beautiful.


With enough planning, even a dark locker room can transform into an ideal photo shoot location.

“Working with the limitations and still making it look great—that’s the biggest challenge.”

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One response to “Tips for Photographing Athletes”

  1. Faces look out of focus to me…

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