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Help capturing football action photos - Rebel T7 & 75-300mm lens


First time poster- long time follower

Recently became the amatuer photographer for my son's highschool football team.  My oldest is going into his senior year and is a captain. I do a good job at capturing stills but struggle with getting action shots that are not blurry.

I got a Rebel EOS T7 as a gift that I am using and I have a 75-300 mm.

Looking to upgrade the lens so that the shots are not blurry. I am on the sidelines as close as I can possibly get to the action. 

Thank you for any suggestion.




What shooting mode are you using? Av? Tv? Manual? Auto?

Try switching to Tv mode and pick a shutter speed of around 1/250th to 1/500th'sof a second. See if that helps.

Steve Thomas



Steves shutter suggestions are good.  Are you shooting day or evening games, or both?

An EF 70-200 f2.8 mkII or mkIII would probably be a good place to start.  Its not an inexpensive lens, but your son is only going to be a senior twice and being captain makes it that more special.

Bay Area - CA

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I have been shooting in sports mode which does a decent job at capturing the day photos.  but night time is tough. 

most things I have read is the 70-200 and I know it isn't cheap but I think i is the best way to go.  

Thank you!

"most things I have read is the 70-200 and I know it isn't cheap but I think i is the best way to go."

The EF 70-200 F/2.8L lens has been my go to for anything sports related, and has been for many years.  I think you would love it.  As far as it not being cheap... do you have any camera stores in your area?  Many sell good used working lenses at a nice discount.  This lens has been around long enough that they might have a used one available.  Any reputable camera shop will test the lenses before accepting them as a trade in to make sure they are in perfect working order.  Another bonus... they will probably offer you more of a discount for trading in the 75-300mm.  I've been buying used gear this way for decades.  Never had a problem.  My only other advice is avoid private party sales of used gear unless it is from someone you know and trust.  

There is also a Tamron version of the 70-200 with the Canon EF mount that is highly rated - but I don't recall the exact model number.  Hoping someone else reads this that knows what I am talking about and will reply with the model.  You might find that one used as well.


Digital: Canon R6 Mk ll, R8, RP, 60D, various RF, EF, and Rokinon lenses
Film: (still using) Pentax Spotmatic, Pentax K1000, Pentax K2000, Miranda DR, Zenit 12XP, Kodak Retina Automatic II, Kodak Duaflex III, and various lenses


Roger's suggestions are good.

Your pictures are good, but I think your shutter speeds were too low.

Try taking your camera out of Sports Mode and put it in Tv mode. Set your shutter speed to 1/640th or so and use Auto ISO.

I think you'll be all right.

Steve Thomas


The 75-300 isn't going to do it for night use on a typical high school field where the lighting level isn't great.  The 70-200 f2.8 is my most used lens for HS football.

Minimum shutter speed for HS football is 1/800 but you can drop to 1/640 if you have to but it will start inducing significant motion blur with a lot of the action.

When you get the 70-200 f2.8, set your camera to manual exposure with ISO set to auto.  Set the aperture wide open (f2.8) and try the shutter speed at 1/800 and if the resulting ISO is within reason for the noise of the T7 then leave it there.  If not then try going down to 1/640 if you have to; 1/500 is at the point where you will see a lot of blur on fast action so except for special situations don't go that slow or slower during football.

Shoot RAW instead of JPG so you don't have to worry about white balance while shooting and you can also clean up a lot of noise in post when shooting in RAW.

I set AF to servo AF and drive to high speed; I use a single focus point which gives me best control of what the camera is focusing upon and with your T7 which has a slower focusing algorithm than my 1DX series it also transfers some of the workload from the camera to you.  Using multiple focus points will often slow focus acquisition slightly and could cause you to miss the "killer" shot you want.

Even with drive mode set to high speed, do NOT rely upon bursts too much.  Timing is still critical even with very high frame rates. 

Some of the great photos in sports come from photos on the sidelines or in an end zone celebration after a TD.  In those cases, you are shooting a group that is not moving as fast so you need to close down the aperture (higher f number) for greater depth of field while simultaneously slowing shutter speed to keep the ISO within reason.  The 1DX series bodies I use have a handy button to toggle between two sets of exposure settings but you can achieve the same result by manually changing the aperture and shutter for that quick celebration capture but do NOT forget to change back.  Get in the habit of looking at the exposure info in the viewfinder so you will quickly catch any mistake.  I lock the controls on my camera bodies once I dial in the setup for the game to avoid accidental changes as I switch between two or three bodies.

Most importantly, it is a privilege to be on the sidelines and you have to always be alert to protect the players, officials, and yourself.  Don't try to review images during the game except maybe a brief check during a time out or between quarters and halves.  Many times I have had to run back out of the way and a few times I had to jump over players crashing well over the sidelines.  NEVER get in the way of an official and respect the privacy of the coaches.  If there is an intense exchange between a coach and player or coach and official, do NOT be there clicking away; have respect for those who are truly part of the game.  I have been shooting football for many years now and the area officials know me and know that I know what I am doing.  Since you are starting out, make a point of catching the officials during some "dead" time before the game starts.  Say hello and ask them if they have any special instructions/concerns.  I shot a soccer match last week and was talking with one of the officials I have known for years.  He had a big bruise on his face and it came from a clueless photographer who caught him with a telephoto lens as the official was running down the sidelines to follow the play.  If the photographer hadn't been in an area where he didn't belong, that wouldn't have happened.

You will love the 70-200 f2.8!  (and don't forget to grab some sideline photos during the game, there are great possibilities for high emotion shots!)



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

wow those pics are amazing

here are a few of mine that need lots of work compared to yours


You have some nice captures!  A better lens (and maybe later an upgrade to a more capable camera body) will make a world of difference!


EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

I have two sons that play so this will be a thing for another three years at least!