Image by Mike Inkley

Getting accredited for sports and action events is the dream for all sports photographers, but if you’re not quite at that stage yet there are still plenty of ways to get involved with the action. Grab your camera and get along to an event…

1. Get a running start


If you’re new to action and sports photography, rather than jumping straight to shooting superfast sports cars you may want to start with slower subjects and events such as running races.

While many bigger events may require press accreditation for you to get a good spot, there are hundreds of races taking place throughout the UK that are free to spectators, giving you plenty of opportunities to capture some pictures from the side lines.

Findarace.com lists all sorts of races including 5k runs, sprint triathlons and even mountain marathons. You could also look for local athletics groups and ask if you could take pictures at their training sessions. This will give you the perfect chance to get in some practice.

Image by Gabrielle Motola

2. Team sports


If you’ve been trying to get press accreditation for big sports events, but are still not having any luck there’s a few things you can do. The first is to keep trying; it can take a lot of time, even for some of the best photographers. You can also get in touch with online and print publications and ask to shoot for them, as this can make getting accreditation easier. The final thing is to keep shooting, the more you shoot, the more you’ll experience and the better you’ll get, and you don’t need to be at a big event to do that. Scout your local area for sports teams such as football, basketball, netball, cricket etc. and maybe even get in touch with sports centres.

Websites such as Join in are aimed at volunteers who want to contribute to sports in their local communities, and they have a search function which allows you to look for teams in your area. If football is more your thing then check out the FA Club finder.

3. Hit the dirt track


For something more high speed try photographing motorcyclists as they gain speed and navigate their way across bumpy terrain. Photographing motorcyclists is a great opportunity to capture some epic action shots as the dust and dirt flies. There could even be the opportunity to capture a biker as they accelerate and launch into the air after a big jump – just think of the shots you could capture using the OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s Pro Capture mode!

Check if the area you live in has a local dirt track where you can photograph local bikers or use websites such as Biker and Biketo see what events are happening across the UK. The Motul FIM Superbike World Championship takes place at the Donington Park circuit, 25-27 May and the Nifty Fifty Endurance Mope Championship Round 2, which is free to spectators, is on 26 May near Winchester. This charity race consists of teams competing to complete as many laps as they can in five hours, so there’s plenty of time to get some pictures!

4. Raring to go


Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire, which claims to be Europe’s fastest racing circuit, is home to a range of motor racing and track day events, providing the perfect opportunity to capture high-speed motor action. Coming up later in the year, Rockingham will be hosting the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in August and the Rockingham Stages Rally in December. So get practising those panning techniques and you’ll be able to get creative with movement.

Image by Mike Inkley

5. Take to the sky


Air shows are a great opportunity for you to capture some striking images as the aim is to put on a great visual show for audiences. Various events happen throughout the year at sites such as IWM Duxford and Abingdon Airfield providing a variety of different aircraft to photograph as they take to the air. In particular, look out for events in which the Red Arrows are flying to capture their colourful smoke and sequences.

Image by Jonathan Saull

Article featured in Olympus Magazine Issue 57 – to see the latest copy of this free digital magazine click here.