Photography Tips #5: Running with more Rugby

With the rugby season creeping ever closer with pre-season friendlies in full swing, I got the pleasure to tag along to a Welshpool game. My experience with rugby photography has been strictly restricted to rugby 7s, being used to the smaller sides and faster pace.
Used to the fast pace and student atmosphere back in Aberystwyth, it was a refreshing change to  photograph a 15 a side game.


Being an August weekend I was expecting the traditional British Summertime Weather of overcast with a bit of wind chill, but ended up pleasantly surprised with a cloud scattered sky allowing the sun’s warmth to break through. I stuck to shooting with my canon 6d and 70mm-200mm lens pairing shooting on the Tv mode. Due to the nature of the brightness of the outdoors I set an auto ISO cap at 2500. The aperture I changed between 5.0-7.1 depending on the amount of action formulating and the distance the play was from my position. Within this game I saw the benefits of having a 400m telephoto lens, with the action on the other side of the pitch being tricky to capture with the limitations of 200mm.

In my previous post I talk about where to stand on the pitch and composition that I find best for rugby 7s. It’s the same in 15 a side rugby. Trying to anticipate the action and staying nearer the try lines worked well for me this game as I got some fantastic angles.


I speak highly of the 45 degree angle in horse sports being the magic angle and the same can be said in rugby. Rather than flat side or face on, it brings the action more life and just brings the plays out of the frame. This can be achieved by being further up the pitch than the play, so don’t be afraid to wander up and down the sideline. (Just don’t do a me and accidently knock people spectating with the lens hood!) Another great aspect of this match was the setting, having the rolling green hills as a backdrop allowing the players to be the key focus of the image. It is preferable not to get gaudy advertisements of block colours in the background as it detracts from the subject of the image, but if it can be captured on a lower aperture it usually won’t take away too much.

With this match I took around 480 photos, mainly on the short burst mode of plays, especially with line outs, rucks and breakdowns and passing try and get the perfect point of the pass/ catch or tackle. After looking through them on my laptop, cropping them and correcting the angles, I had around 50 photos I was exceptionally happy with!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or drop me a message on my website.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

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