How to (Unconventionally) Shoot Track and Field Competitions

By Andrea Monti

Having been given a LOC pass for the European Athletics Championships currently taking place in Rome, I was able to practice unusual compositions in sports photography.

Usually, the pictures taken by professional photographers working for media companies, broadcasters or magazines inevitably focus on the umpteenth iteration of the same actions (the concentration before the start, the relay change, the exertion after a fast or long run, etc.). Add to this the fact that the photographers are all in the same part of the venue, the results are very similar, at least in terms of perspective and field of view.

This is an example: I don’t know what the other photographers were doing at that moment, but this is what the scene had to offer to those stationing there.

Sports photography is done under duress because it has to meet the client’s needs in terms of capturing a particular athlete, sponsor or other specific thing. However, there is always room for less conventional images like this one, where the focus is on the interaction between the moving camera and the athlete.

Another option is to take ‘meta-photos’: a photographer who captures the action.

This is another example:

The in-between stages of the competition can also be a source of inspiration. In this case, I was struck by the DIY solution for carrying the discus back to the next thrower.

The interaction between the athletes and their fans is another example of a less conventional shot. The joy conveyed by this photograph is catching and energetic.

To sum up, I have found that the attitude of looking for unconventional compositions allows me to capture interesting moments, especially in sports photography, that has much to offer in this field. However, one should always keep in mind the reason for being in a particular location, i.e. an assignment, and always put the client’s interest first and one’s own personal photographic taste in the background.

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About The Author

By Andrea Monti
My name is Andrea Monti. I’m an Italian free-lance journalist, photographer and – in my spare time – an hi-tech lawyer. The works I am more proud of are covering live jazz, pop and rock concerts for an Italian online music magazine and Opera and prose for a 200 years-old theatre. I also do sport photography mainly in athletics and fighting disciplines. You may find out more about me on
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Martin on How to (Unconventionally) Shoot Track and Field Competitions

Comment posted: 12/06/2024

I love the picture with the two athletes and the fans. The athlete one with the shorter hair seems to enjoy the interaction with fans and photogs as well.
BTW each discus thrower have their own discus so the RC car takes the discus back to it's thrower, just as a sidenote.

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