Events photography

Commonwealth Games photography tips: Capture the sporting action like a pro this summer

Mario So is a filmmaker and photographer specializing in visual storytelling as well as high-impact product advertisements. He is part of the ZHIYUN Creators Club. Mario So is also an educator in the field. You can find him teaching tutorials or talking about gear on his YouTube channel.

The Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 to August 8, 2022 and are expected to be the biggest sporting event of the year. If you are lucky enough to have tickets to this game or any other major game, taking the perfect video will be something to share and admire for many years to come. Shoot like a pro with these tips.


Having an in-depth knowledge of the sport you are filming will show in your footage. By being passionate about the sport you’re filming, you’ll be better able to anticipate where an athlete will go for those higher level shots.

It takes practice and dedication to be able to feel your shots by instinct, so the more events you capture, the more you’ll understand where to go for the best shots. Watching lots of sports matches will also give you a better idea of ​​which players to watch and understand what the public likes to see.


Filmmakers (whether amateur or professional) can create an immersive experience for their audience in many ways, including following the action with close-up shots, for example, in outdoor or extreme sports.

Raise the camera, we like to use the Sony a7siii for its excellent video capabilities, above your head for an overhead view of the action or sweep down the bass for more drama. One way to do this while keeping the camera stable is to use a gimbal.

Gimbals offer versatility, and lightweight models like the Weebill 3 or smartphone champions like the SMOOTH Q4 give you more freedom to move around and try different techniques such as freestyle shots and can be used to get the perfect cart shot.

Why not capture the classic push or pull shots you see on screen by moving your camera steadily forward or backward?

Alternatively, you can hold your camera or gimbal vertically or tilted, push at a low angle, tilt up or down, and pan. The options are nearly endless. As long as the camera is steady and facing your subject, you can shoot great sports footage.


To get the most out of your footage, make sure your camera is sharp and steady. The Sony A6600 offers a compact body with excellent autofocus. With many sports, like basketball, you always want to be mobile – which isn’t always possible with a tripod.

Standing in the same place, follow your subject with the camera by rotating your body and your camera in the same direction as your subject is moving. It’s a great shot for sports that require the camera to stay focused on a moving subject over a shorter distance, like a cricketer running between wickets or for swimmers.


With a gimbal, you’ll get smooth footage that shows the action from every angle. This is called a parallax shot – a 180 or 360 rotational motion that places the subject in the center of the frame.

Parallax shots are particularly suited to slower indoor sports like pool, darts or chess and work best if you are a short distance from what you are filming. Your subject can be stationary or moving.


This type of shot is called the handover. Equipment such as gimbals allow the camera to be handed over to another operator mid-shot for continuous, uninterrupted filming.

Take parkour for example. Users stand at different levels, handing the video stabilizer to another operator while the initial subject jumps and rolls over obstacles. For extreme sports like these, it’s always a good idea to get a gimbal with a secure locking system for your smartphone or camera.


For fast, long-distance sports such as cycling or marathons, be ready to capture the action from a moving car or motorbike. You can also film while you are walking, running or biking next to your subject, depending on the sport.

Professional photographers should consider the Sony A9 Mark II for capturing photos that need to be delivered quickly to a news desk or website…with super-fast Wi-Fi transfer, autofocus edge and attractive burst shooting, this camera leads the way in sports photography.


For extreme or winter sports, filmmakers can choose to record the action while participating in sports like skateboarding, skydiving, and skiing. Although it takes physical fitness and some skill from the videographer, the potential results are worth it.

Stabilize your camera as you track your subject for start-to-finish action. Be sure to pick gear that’s durable enough to withstand a few bumps along the way.


Quality sound is a key part of video. When filming outdoors or where there is an audience, you need to be aware of various factors, such as the weather.

Strong winds and background noise can interfere with the microphone and negatively impact sound quality. Noise-canceling microphones, a dead chat, or capturing your audio with external recorders can be a big help.

Images of Mario So around parkour/gymnastics training and skating:

Capturing smooth footage of sports action is easy with the help of a camera stabilizer. Here are three of our top picks:

Crane M3 – professional 3-axis gimbal, claiming five industry firsts for looks, unparalleled versatility, ease of use and the trademark high-performance ZHIYUN design. The CRANE M3 is compatible with smartphones, action cameras, and full-frame mirrorless cameras with select lenses.

CRANE M3 329.00€ on ZHIYUN Official Store

Weebill 3 – high performance handheld gimbal for DSLR cameras. Incorporating a new SLING 2.0 design for improved ergonomics, a built-in microphone, fill light and a powerful built-in battery supporting all-day use

WEEBILL £3,449 from ZHIYUN Official Store

Smooth Q4 – for on-the-go filmmakers, live streamers, vloggers and influencers, the new 3-axis stabilizer is designed for super-fast shooting capabilities and ultra-creative output, day or night .

Smooth Q4, from £119 on Zhiyun Official Store

About Mario So

Mario So is a filmmaker and photographer specializing in visual storytelling as well as high-impact product advertisements. He is part of the ZHIYUN Creators Club. Mario So is also an educator in the field. You can find him teaching tutorials or talking about gear on his YouTube channel.

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