What Makes a Great Sports Photo, with Peter Read Miller and Scott Kelby

Peter and Scott go through the particulars of shooting many different types of sports, ranging from football to basketball and swimming to volleyball, as they discuss and dissect what makes a great sports photo in each specific environment.

Shooting sports is messy. We all struggle with the same issues and ask the same questions. Where are the best shooting positions? What lens should I be using? How do I know which photos are any good? Join legendary sports photographer Peter Read Miller and Scott Kelby to find the answers to all these questions and more! Peter and Scott go through the particulars of shooting many different types of sports, ranging from football to basketball and swimming to volleyball, as they discuss and dissect what makes a great sports photo in each specific environment. You’ll learn the key elements that separate the winners from the losers based on Peter Read Miller’s 30 years of experience covering sports all over the world.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 09:13)

Join Peter and Scott to get the class started with an overview of what will be covered in the class followed by a look into some of Peter's own photographs.

Lesson 2: Football: Part 1 (Duration 16:43)

You want to capture peak action. Peter shares techniques for making athletes look like they are jumping even higher than they really are, how he exposes for different conditions, and more.

Lesson 3: Football: Part 2 (Duration 15:08)

Peter and Scott continue to discuss and examine various football photos to see what works in each one.

Lesson 4: Favorite Shooting Positions for Football (Duration 05:52)

There are a few factors to consider when choosing your shooting position for a football game.

Lesson 5: How to Improve Football Photos (Duration 10:01)

Not every shot is a winner. Peter and Scott critique some football photos to see what can be done better. They wrap this lesson with a discussion of how what applies to football applies to other team sports.

Lesson 6: Baseball (Duration 08:03)

Peter and Scott switch to discussing what makes a great baseball photo.

Lesson 7: Favorite Shooting Positions for Baseball (Duration 07:46)

Peter diagrams the classic positions for shooting baseball before critiquing some of Scott's baseball photos.

Lesson 8: Basketball (Duration 09:46)

Shooting indoors brings new challenges and new opportunities. Basketball has a few types of classic shots.

Lesson 9: How to Improve Basketball Photos (Duration 07:42)

Peter critiques some of Scott's basketball photos to see what could have been done better.

Lesson 10: Swimming and Gymnastics (Duration 14:33)

Just because you are close to the pool doesn't mean you won't want to use a long lens to get in close and capture those expressions. With gymnastics one of the biggest challenges is finding a nice background.

Lesson 11: Track (Duration 13:00)

They start this lesson with a critique of Scott's gymnastic photos before transitioning into track and field.

Lesson 12: Volleyball (Duration 06:09)

Volleyball can be indoors or out. There are a number of angles you want to try and position yourself to capture.

Lesson 13: Blind Photo Critique (Duration 21:37)

A blind photo critique of photos submitted by the photographers in the Sports Shooters community on Google+.

Meet Your Instructor: Peter Read Miller

Peter Read Miller has been photographing athletes, events and sports for more than 30 years. He is currently a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated, where he has worked for more…

Meet Your Instructor: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President and CEO of KelbyOne, is also the original “Photoshop Guy”, is the Cofounder and CEO of Kelby Media Group, the editor and publisher of Photoshop User…


  1. Excellent. Even though I am not likely to shoot many sports I got a lot out of this in terms of composition, timing, placement and planning. And Scott's shots were just as valuable because learning what not to do added an extra dimension. Thanks Scott for being such a good sport.

  2. Really enjoying this course. While I really appreciated the drama within the American Football images and I can see how much of the advice applies to many other sports, it would have been good to actually state this. For example, American Football similar to both codes of rugby (what I enjoy shooting), baseball to cricket etc. Given that football (soccer) is the biggest sport on the planet, it really needed a section to itself. Keep up the good work and thanks to all.

  3. One of the best sports photography training sessions I've seen! Scott and Peter bring their 'A' game for sure. There is so much information packed into this video that your finger is going to be sore from hitting replay. Get your notepads ready and hit "play" on this video! Thank you Peter and Scott for the excellent insights into sports photography.

  4. I have watched the run thru of Peter's photos and it almost brings tears to my eyes to see such superior work!!!! Many of us, well MOST of us, will have to wait until our next life to come close to such perfection.

  5. Awesome course, learned a lot! I am a Senior photographer and I shoot a lot of sports on the side. I appreciate this course, after I watched the volleyball session I called and schedule a shoot for one of the local schools.

  6. I would have liked to have had some coverage on the sport of bull riding. The "play" is very unpredictable and the photographer has only up to 8 seconds to get "the shot". Outside of that, the photos are truly the work of a great photographer and the course was outstanding in terms of learning about what makes a great sports photo. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Loved this course! Peter is such a awesome guy, clear messages and inspirational pictures. I'm totally pumped to try his tips. Oh, and please make this happen: "A football game with Peter Read Miller". Now that would be the top class! Cheers!

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