Shoot non blurry photo in sports photography

This question is from Joan and her question is about “how to shoot non blurry photo in sports photography“.

First of all thank you for your email Joan you have asked me a great question. As a caveat I am not a professional sports photographer but I’d say even for professionals they take A LOT OF pictures in a sporting event before they get ONE good shot that they are sending to publications. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t nail it the first time.

For myself , I am still learning sports photography and I often read a lot of tips and tricks on how to improve my photos. Below are some good advices that I have summarized for you that I believe will solve your problem. As always, if this is too general or too technical don’t hesitate to send me a follow up question:

1) Try to anticipate the actions – Have you done your homework to understand the sport you’re shooting at? Which are the big teams and underdogs? Who are the super star players? These are very important to know in order to anticipate the actions. Also, start aiming the spot where the ball is going to land to capture the players expressions. This is very important too!

2) Keep ISO high and aperture wide open – You may wonder why you need to do that in daylight if you are shooting outdoor. The answer is often times you need to freeze action so you need a very fast shutter speed. And in order to achieve that you need to use a smaller aperture and high ISO.

3) Use Continue burst mode – I’m sure you’re doing this already but don’t always check the LCD screen. Just keep shooting and take a look once a while.

4) Continuous focus (AF continuous for Nikon, AI Servo for Canon) – Please make sure you’re use continuous focus mode.

5) Shoot in JPEG – Use JPEG only instead of RAW + JPEG is going to speed up your memory card’s buffer time. It may not have a big impact on the sharpness of your photo but another thing I found helpful.

6) Shoot with both eyes open – Don’t close the other eye when you’re taking the shot. Use one eye to look through the viewfinder and the other eye to look at the subject.

Joan thank you for your email once again I hope this will be beneficial to your question. If anyone wants to be featured in TKE just send me an email or subscribe below to get more information.

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!

3 comments

  1. Could you tell me how wide the aperture and how high the ISO should be?

    • Hi Jean, say if you are shooting in daylight outdoor, use f2.8 with ISO 100. If you want to freeze the action even more, high a higher ISO so the shutter speed will get even faster (it should already be fast since it’s daytime). If you subject is a lot closer to you, use aperture f4 or above. This is because you don’t want part of the player to be out of focus due to depth of field issues (half the player’s face or arm is blurry etc). Hope this helps but as always you can ask me in this blog 🙂

  2. You know you need a shutter speed of at least 1/500s to get the atocin to freeze, so you might as well set your shutter speed to that value. Now it’s merely a matter of finding the right ISO speed and aperture to balance everything out. At 1/500s, not that much light is entering the camera, so you had better be using a wide open aperture or a bigger ISO speed.

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