Sports photographers face a number of issues and a few fixes which don’t include robbing a bank can help. A good start is finding the best camera for sports photography. Next is understanding the ideal settings for shooting sports form the beginning to the end. There are many factors that play a role in getting the right scenery during ports.
- The shutter speed
This is one of the most crucial things and it needs to be fast. Fast shutter speed eliminates the blur which cannot be saved even by the most technical photo editing. Speed freezes motion. The minimum shutter speed 1/500 sec. Before the real action, it is good to take a few shots to see their sharpness. In case of a blur the speed should be raised. Some sports are really fast e.g. motor races and only high speeds suffice such as 1/1000 sec. High shutter speeds requires a fast lens, sufficient light, and high ISO.
The ideal light source for shooting sport has a very brief duration such as a portable flash. The fast flash is what freezes the motion. This should not be confused with shutter speed of the camera.
- High ISO
When the camera is set to a high shutter speed, it might be hard for it to expose a scene even if the aperture is opened to its maximum diameter. The only thing that can save the situation is a higher ISO speed, the high ISO speed may be noisy but it will eliminate any blurry effect.
- Auto focus modes (AF)
The AF modes are found on most of the best cameras for sports photography. They are two: constant autofocus and single autofocus. The single AF is set by pressing the shutter button halfway down, and the object is focused. By repressing the button and removing the finger, the point of focus changes and if the object starts moving, then the user should refocus. The constant AF mode is achieved when the shutter button is pressed halfway. However, if the object moves, the mode adjusts the point of focus to give a sharp image. The process is known as focus tracking. There are some advanced AF modes which feature pre-emptive focusing features which can track an object, analyze its motion, and make predictions of where it moves next. These modes are designed to maintain a sharp object with single AF being perfect for focusing on a zone where an object appears while the constant AF more suitable for randomly moving objects.
- Wide aperture
To attain the highest shutter speed, the aperture should be wide open. The best cameras for sports photography have fast lenses like the f/2.8; in this case, the aperture doesn’t have to be open to the maximum. More light blurs the background while creating a brighter image. But if the camera lens is slow, say f/5.6, the aperture should be opened to its maximum especially when taking indoor sports photos. A wider aperture provides a shallow depth of field hence blurring background distractions and focusing on the action. This is how sharp images with high impacts and drama are produced.
Sports photography is tricky but the above camera settings increase the chances of taking dazzling shots. They apply to any kind of sport and are easy to adapt.