5 Tips for Taking Impressive Golf Pictures

Capturing the essence of golf in photographs might seem challenging due to its slower pace and the strict rules at professional events. Yet, for those ready to explore, golf offers a world of opportunities to create shots filled with emotion, stunning landscapes, and remarkable athletic moments. Today, let us share some easy-to-follow and creative golf photography tips for capturing impressive golf pictures on your DSLR or iPhone.

1. Go Wide and Leverage the Landscape 

Golf courses are canvases of natural beauty. Use wide angles to create incredible golf course pictures highlighting the sprawling greens, the players, and the dramatic sky. You can bring a wide-angle lens (a 17-40mm will do) for your trusty DSLR camera or use the ultra-wide feature of your iPhone or Android phone. Here’s one landscape photography tip from many golf course photographers: always position yourself to avoid mixing shaded areas with bright backgrounds, as this contrast can distract from your main subject. 

2. Freeze the Best Actions

When photographing any sport, it’s crucial to catch every thrilling moment as it happens. For golf, where swings can reach speeds of 105-110 MPH, you’ll need a quick shutter speed to capture the action without blur. Try adjusting the shutter speed to at least 1/500 of a second. For even sharper images, like freezing a golf ball mid-swing, aim for 1/2000 to 1/2500 of a second. Whether using a DSLR camera or iPhone, you should try switching to high-speed continuous shooting or burst mode. This lets you take a series of shots quickly. The actual number of photos you can snap in a burst will depend on your camera’s specific features, including its frame rate.

Still, shooting in burst mode lets you take as many photos as possible. That means you’ll have more options when it’s time to turn your golf pictures into framed golf photography prints. 

3. Get Closer to the Action Without Being Close

Professional golf course photographers can easily perform aerial golf course photography with drones and other premium equipment to get closer to the action without being too close. But what if you are a newbie shutterbug? Or what if you simply don’t have the proper equipment for the fanciest golf course drone photography? 

You can still get closer to the action with your trusty DSLR. But be sure to understand the unwritten rule in golf photography: you can’t snap photos during a player’s backswing. This is where a powerful zoom lens truly shines, allowing you to capture the intensity and focus of the game from a safe distance—all without the worry of your camera’s shutter noise breaking the concentration of the golfer. Using zoom lenses with your DSLR camera lets you get closer to the action without being too close. However, these lenses are heavy, tipping the scales at six to 11 pounds, so finding the perfect spot on the course and holding the lens steady can be tricky. Consider mounting your zoom lens on a sturdy monopod. This setup helps you stay mobile and ready to capture the action wherever it happens on the course.

4. Focus on a Star Player

If you’re photographing a friend or loved one playing golf on one of your holiday trips, then there’s no question: you will focus on them. But if you’re taking golf pictures during a tournament, it’s best to pick a golfer and stick with them throughout the tournament. This golf course photography strategy works well when you’re looking to capture a series of moments from one player, especially if they’re in the lead or close to it. 

Since most tournaments span several days, with the player lineup narrowing down halfway through, you have a unique opportunity to tell a story. Start by exploring different spots around the course during the early rounds, aiming to photograph a variety of players. Then, as the tournament progresses and the competition heats up, shift your focus to the leaders. This way, you can follow the unfolding drama and capture the unique story of a particular tournament through sports photography.. 

top golf pictures

5. Craft a Story with Your Shots

Other than action shots, golf course photographers often look for shots that reveal the emotions and stories behind the game: the disappointment of a missed shot, the warmth of golfers signing autographs for fans, or the dedication of volunteers making the event possible. These behind-the-scenes moments offer a glimpse into the heart of golf events. You can do the same and use a telephoto lens, like the 70–200mm, to snap these candid moments from a distance, bringing the unseen stories of the golf course to light.

Bonus Tip for Smartphone Users: Use Portrait Mode for Golf Photos 

Is your smartphone equipped with a dual-lens camera? Switch to portrait mode to dramatically enhance your artistic golf photography. By combining the power of both lenses with sophisticated software, the portrait mode lets you achieve that sought-after blurred background effect, making your subject stand out sharply against a soft backdrop. Using the portrait mode is an easy yet powerful way to direct viewers’ attention exactly where you want it in your golf photos.

Highlight Your Top Golf Pictures

After you’ve caught the action and spirit of your golf outings, it’s time to move those memories from digital to display. Livestock Framing excels in turning your standout golf photographs into stunning, gallery-quality framed pieces. Perfect for adding a touch of green to your home or office desk decor or as thoughtful gifts, these framed pictures ensure the joy and excitement of your golf photography are always within view.

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