Summer is in full swing and if your family is anything like mine then you probably spend a lot of time on the field. I remember a few years ago bringing my camera with me to get pictures of my boys playing baseball. Only I could never figure out how to get action shots to come out bright, in focus and how to freeze action. They were always blurry and dark.
I thought I would share some tips on how to get those sports shots incase your feeling the same frustration I used to.
If you normally shoot in Auto mode you’re going to want to switch over to Shutter. This is going to allow you to set your shutter speed to be fast enough to capture whatever sport you are photographing. You will also want to be in burst mode. This will allow you to hold down the shutter button and take multiple shots at one time. You can check your camera manual if you don’t know how to change these settings.
There are 3 settings that work together in your camera to make an image. ISO, Shutter and Aperture. This is known as the exposure triangle. Since you are only going to be shooting in Shutter mode the only things you need to think about is shutter speed and ISO. The camera will set the aperture for you.
When shooting sports my first thought is shutter speed. I start with a shutter speed that I know is generally fast enough which is 1/300. When you increase your shutter speed the cameras shutter opens and closes more quickly which will let in less light, making the image darker if there isn’t enough light. The only way to make the image brighter while keeping the shutter speed the same is by bumping up the ISO. The more you increase your ISO the more noise (grain) your image will have. Unfortunately, you can’t have a super fast shutter without noise unless you add more light by opening up your aperture (I will soon be posting a blog on this), or adding external lighting like flashes. Noise isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can often remove some of the noise in post production if you use software to edit your images like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Also, unless the ISO is increased to an extreme amount, noise won’t be that noticeable unless you’re blowing up your image to a poster size. All cameras are different and some handle noise better than others. One camera may not show a noticeable about of noice until an ISO of 6,400 or more while other cameras start showing noise at an ISO of 800.
Play around with your shutter and ISO to get the exposure you want. Remember when you increase your shutter speed you will also want to increase your ISO. Here are a few action shots that I have taken this summer along with the settings.