Moving Your Audience: Ways To Capture Motion For Dramatic Images

In sports photography, when the most exciting moments can happen in a split-second, it is often helpful to keep the camera settings standard at shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000th of a second, ISO settings set high enough for ample light sensitivity, and with shutter-priority mode and autofocus on to automate adjustments to aperture size and focal points. Everything in the frame is in clear focus, and you’d capture the form of a player, the expression of your subject, of his opponent, and even of the referee and audience in the background.

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After a number of sharp, “safe” images for your portfolio, you can take another approach to capturing moving subjects for a more artistic effect. Say, you want to emphasize the speed of a batter making a home run. You can pan the camera by pointing it at the approaching subject and following him after he passes by, holding down the shutter button all the while. You’ll need a slower shutter speed (start at 1/30), lower ISO and narrower aperture to compensate for the longer exposure. With a bit of trial-and-error, adjust accordingly for just the right settings, and you’ll emphasize speed as your subject is in clear focus while everything else is a blur.

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On the other hand, if you want to focus on the baseman as the batter runs past him, you’ll need to keep the camera steady, bring back up the shutter speed and lock the focus on the baseman. You’ll have an image of the silhouette of the batter passing by while capturing the raw emotion of the baseman as he stands watch over a home run.

I’m Judd Bergman, a retired photographer. For more tutorials, please subscribe to my blog.


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