It’s often hard to get a good action shot in golf because to put it bluntly there isn’t really a lot of action going on. This makes it one of the most difficult sports to photograph. The only physical contact in the game is between the golf club and the ball and the ball is quite small, making things even harder to capture on camera.
There is a benefit to golf being difficult to photograph though, as this means there aren’t that many good shots out there and there isn’t as much competition. Action shots in golf basically feature golfers taking a swing at the ball. However, there are a couple of other interesting types to take such as reaction and scenery shots.
Reaction shots have to deal with the golfer’s face after taking a shot while scenery shots capture some of the splendid landscapes that some of the world’s golf courses have to offer.
When taking action shots, be sure there’s nothing interfering with the photo.
Make sure you get the golfer and not an image full of background items such as the cart, the clubhouse and half of the town, etc. The golfer needs to be the main subject.
The game of golf makes it hard to show anything other than the golfer when you’re taking shots of the swing. You’ll either catch the actual swing on camera or the follow through.
Chip shots and putting will usually allow you to capture the ball and the hole as well. However, when teeing off or driving the ball down the fairway, you’ll have a hard time finding the ball in your image.
You also need to realize that most point-and-shoot digital cameras have a delay of about a second from when you press the shutter until the image is captured. This is known as shutter lag and it means timing is essential. An SLR camera is better for golf photography because the photo is captured when you fire the shutter.
Some of the best golf shots can be had with players trying to get out of sand traps. This is because the ball will be hit slower and you usually also see the sand being launched in the air during the shot. When they’re putting on the green you should also be able to get some decent images as you’ll be able to capture the golfer, the green, the pin, and hole all together.
A reaction shot involving players and/or fans can be quite effective. You just need to focus on their faces and see how they react to a good or bad golf shot. The concentration on a player’s face before shooting can also make for a good photo.
Scenic courses allow you to capture golfers playing, but the focus is on the actual landscape and not the facial expression of the golfer. These shots are generally taken to show off the beauty of the location instead of the game itself.