Whether you’re an aspiring photojournalist, wildlife enthusiast or sports photographer, there will be many instances in your career where you’ll need to be able to shoot a fast moving subject, be it a swooping eagle or speeding car. Here are our top tips to capturing them, without the dreaded blur.
Tip #1 – What Do You Want?
There are several techniques a photographer can adopt when it comes to shooting a moving subject, but first, ask yourself exactly what kind of shot it is you are looking achieve. Let’s take a moving vehicle as an example. Do you want to capture it frozen in time, with everything in your image clear, or do you want to capture the vehicle sharp, with the background in motion blur? If you want the former, then you’ll need a fast shutter speed (1/500 and above), but if you want the latter, you’ll need to adopt the panning technique. Or perhaps you want a blurred subject with the background in focus, in which you’ll need a slower shutter speed.
Tip #2 – Let’s Talk About Lens
You could have the reflexes of a cat and fingers dexterous enough to change your shutter speed in a split second, but all that won’t help you if your lens doesn’t match up. We recommend a lens that allows for a fast aperture (f/1.4-f/2.8), such as a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This is because you’ll need as much light entering your camera as possible in order to freeze motion.
Tip #3 – Understanding Shutter Speed
Shutter speed greatly impacts your success in capturing motion, but don’t forget that it also affects other aspects of your image. When you slow your shutter speed to blur elements in your shot, a common problem you might face is having too much light entering your camera, and vice versa. When this happens, adjust your aperture accordingly, and don’t forget to check your ISO settings too!
Tip #4 – Try Chrono
By using the continuous shooting feature in your camera, you can capture a series of shots of someone in motion (think someone running and jumping across your frame). This requires some work in post-processing, but it makes for a visually interesting shot! Do note that you will need a tripod.
Tip #5 – Check your shooting settings
The wonders of technology means your DSLRs will either have a continuous or servo focus shooting mode, meaning when you have your shutter button held halfway down, the camera will continually adjust its focus, making it easier to achieve a sharp shot of a moving subject. Be sure to be shooting on this mode!
Tip #6 – Consider using flash
Utilizing your camera’s built in flash (or even investing in an external one) is a good way to counter low light situations when you have to use a faster shutter speed. However, do note that the built-in flash of your camera has a short range, meaning you’ll have to get up close to your subject for it to be beneficial. In some sporting events, the use of flash can be banned as it is distracting, so ask ahead and prepare for situations like this.