With the Olympics set to kick off later this week, sports photography enthusiasts of all backgrounds and abilities will be descending on London. And that’s not to mention the legions of professional sports photographers who will be populating every venue with their mammoth lenses to capture all the action in staggering detail.
Though they make it look slick and easy, these professional sports photographers still have to work hard and think constantly about what they’re doing in order to achieve great shots. To help you along with your own sports photography, we’ve compiled the 10 questions even pro sports photographers still ask themselves.
How do I choose the right shutter speed for sports photography?
When it comes to sports photography, there are two approaches you can take. You can either try to freeze the moving subject in the frame so that it is as sharp as possible, or you can get it to look nicely blurred to create a strong sense of movement.
With such contradictory approaches, it might seem that it doesn’t matter what shutter speed you use – because if the shot is not frozen sharply, it will by definition be blurred (learn some of the common mistakes at every shutter speed – and the best settings to use).
But setting the shutter speed is not that simple. With sports photography, getting your pictures almost sharp just won’t do.
If the shot is just a bit blurred it looks like a mistake. For these reasons, whether you want super-sharp or artistically blurred images you need to choose your shutter speeds carefully.
Sometimes it’s a creative choice, but often you choose slow shutter speeds through necessity. A blurred effect is a tempting option in low light, when fast shutter speeds are hard to achieve.
But the approach can also vary with the subject. In the shots of marathon runners above, a fast speed works well with the top athletes striding out at the head of the pack, while the slow approach (see next page) proves more suitable for the slower-paced charity runners.
PAGE 1: How do I choose the right shutter speed?
PAGE 2: How slow should I go for motion blur?
PAGE 3: Do I need the motordrive?
PAGE 4: When should I switch to manual focus?
PAGE 5: Why should I keep both eyes open when using the viewfinder?
PAGE 6: How slow should I go at night?
PAGE 7: How do I set up for low-light events?
PAGE 8: What shutter speed do I use for zoom bursts?
PAGE 9: When should I switch on the flash?
PAGE 10: When should I use second curtain sync?
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