3 Flash effects
As long as you have permission – some sports and events don’t allow use of flash as it’s too distracting – using your flash can create some bright and colourful effects.
Instead of using flash for freezing the action, combine it with a slower shutter speed to capture some creative blur to demonstrate a real sense of movement.
Try a shutter speed of around 1/30 sec – depending on how fast your subject is moving – and set your aperture for the ambient light of your scene, using your flash to light your subjects.
If you need your flash to project further, simply increase the ISO. Also try setting your camera to ‘2nd-curtain sync’ and your flash will fire right before the end of your exposure (rather than immediately after the exposure starts, as default with 1st-curtain sync) to create a trail behind your moving subjects.
4 Create an action sequence
A great way to present action sports is to create a frame-by-frame sequence. Use a wide-angle lens to fit in the entire sequence of shots and a tripod so your SLR is in the exactly same spot for each shot.
Use a manual exposure mode, with an aperture around f/5-6.3, upping your ISO as necessary to allow a fast shutter speed around 1/1000-1/2000 sec.
Switch to a high speed continuous drive mode to capture as many frames per run/jump.
Use autofocus to prefocus on a spot in line with your subject’s path, then switch to manual focus to lock it in place. You’ll want approximately four shots to stitch together in Photoshop.
5 Cool photo compositions
It’s always good to work on improving your compositional skills, so try moving around your subjects to find a different angle.
A good trick for creating an unusual sports picture is to crop in really close – just showing part of the athlete’s body, as in this football shot.
It can also be effective to go to the other extreme, and compose the shot so the competitor is very small in the frame.
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