Capturing Unforgettable Moments

As proud hockey parents, you know that the rink is where unforgettable memories are made. Those thrilling moments when your hockey player takes to the ice, gives it their all, celebrates the highs, and battles through the lows. These make youth hockey truly special. And what better way to preserve these cherished moments than through the lens of your camera?

In this guide, we’re excited to share some expert tips that will help you become the unofficial photographer for your hockey star’s games. Whether you’re wielding a smartphone or a DSLR, these insights will help you capture the heart-pounding action, joyous victories, and camaraderie of the team with skill and finesse. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can unlock the magic of hockey photography and create a visual diary of your child’s journey on the ice.

Capturing awesome quality action photos of hockey players can be challenging due to the fast pace of the sport and the low-light conditions often found in ice rinks. Here are the top five things a photographer needs to do to achieve great results:

Using a DSLR – Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera

  1. Use Fast Lenses with Wide Apertures: Hockey rinks are typically poorly lit, so using a fast lens with a wide aperture (e.g., f/2.8 or wider) is essential. A wide aperture allows more light to enter the lens, enabling faster shutter speeds and better low-light performance. This helps freeze the action and reduce motion blur.
  2. Adjust Shutter Speed for Motion Freeze: To capture sharp action shots, you’ll need a fast shutter speed. Start with a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second to freeze the fast movements of the players. Adjust it as needed based on the available light and the speed of the action.
  3. Use Continuous Autofocus: Hockey players move fast, making it crucial to use a camera’s continuous autofocus mode. This mode allows the camera to continuously adjust focus as the subject moves, ensuring your shots remain sharp even as players skate back and forth.
  4. Pre-focus on High-Traffic Areas: Anticipate the action by pre-focusing on areas where you expect players to be most active, such as in front of the net or along the boards. This can help reduce the time your camera takes to lock onto the subject, increasing the chances of getting sharp shots.
  5. Shoot in Burst Mode: Set your camera to burst mode to capture a rapid sequence of shots with a single press of the shutter button. This increases the likelihood of capturing the perfect moment, especially during fast plays, slapshots, saves, and celebrations.

Using Your Cell Phone

  1. Today’s cell phones are capturing great photos and videos. To take the best action shots using your cell phone? Here are a few pointers to getting great shots of your hockey player.
  2. Make sure your lens is clean! With cell phones being in our pockets, bags, and always in our hands, it’s easy to get fingerprints on the lens. Wipe your lens clean before you go for the shot.
  3. Check your photo settings! You may be surprised how many options your cell phone’s camera can do. Go to the General settings and select Camera. Explore the options and try different settings, from how fast to composition and capture style. Don’t let the options become overwhelming. We recommend being open to trying. 
  4. Not sure what settings you liked or how to reuse one… Each photo in your photo library has more information. On an iPhone swipe up on the photo to reveal all of the camera settings the photo was shot with. Pretty cool way to know more about the photos you are taking.
  5. Charge Your Phone: Make sure your phone is fully charged before heading to the game and bring a portable charger to ensure your device doesn’t run out of battery mid-game. 

Bonus Tips

  • Monitor the Game: Familiarize yourself with the flow of the game to anticipate key moments. Knowing when a player is likely to take a shot or make an exciting play will help you be prepared to capture it.
  • Use High ISO Settings Sparingly: While you may need to increase your camera’s ISO to maintain a fast shutter speed in low light, be cautious not to set it too high, as this can introduce noise and reduce image quality. Find a balance between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to achieve the best results.
  • Experiment with Different Angles: Don’t be afraid to try different shooting positions and angles to add variety to your shots. Shoot from behind the glass, from above the rink, or from the player’s bench to capture unique perspectives.
  • Safety First: Be mindful of your surroundings, especially when shooting from the sidelines. Stay within designated areas, and always be aware of the puck and players to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
  • Post-Processing: After the game, spend time in post-processing to fine-tune your photos. Adjust exposure, contrast, and color balance to enhance the final image quality.
  • Have Fun!

With practice, being willing to explore, and a good understanding of your camera’s settings, you can consistently capture awesome quality action photos of hockey players that showcase the excitement and love of the game. Capture some hockey highlights for your team and family to enjoy.

Looking for more hockey photo information- Check out our Blog –

Capturing the Magic: My Journey as a Volunteer Photographer for our Hockey Team

We hope you have an awesome hockey season! We know these tips will help you decide to photograph your youth hockey team!

Want more tips on taking great hockey photos, follow us on Social Media. We share many of our own hockey photos whether taken on a phone or digital camera. We look forward to knowing your hockey photography tips and hope to see you in a Showdown Tournament!