Shooting Sports, It’s All In the Shutter Speed

Ok, maybe it isn’t all in the shutter speed.  There will be adjustments made to both the aperture and ISO, but the main goal is to have a fast shutter speed.  I explained the basics of manual mode in my first post.  I was able to shoot baseball over the weekend for the first time in seven months.  The following photos are from the UW-Milwaukee games and the UW Oshkosh game.  Both games took place at Kapco Park.

The Formula

Wide Aperture+Fast Shutter Speed+Appropriate ISO=Perfect Sports Photo

IMG_5808 copy.jpg
Aperture: 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000, ISO: 1000


The first thing you will want to do is set your aperture to the widest it can go.  This means to set the aperture or f-stop to the lowest number possible.  Doing this will allow your lens to let in as much light as possible, which will allow you to use a faster shutter speed, and it will help to blur the background.  Blurring the background will help to eliminate distractions.  This past weekend I only had one lens on me, so I was forced to use 5.6 as my aperture.  It blurs the background, but not as much as my lens that I use at 3.2 as seen below.  Photography Mad also suggests to open the aperture wide.

IMG_5819 copy
Aperture: 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1600, ISO: 1000
IMG_5469 copy

Aperture: 3.2, Shutter Speed: 1/1600, ISO: 800

Shutter Speed

Now that your aperture is open wide, it is time to adjust the shutter speed accordingly.  To get an accurate exposure, you will have to use the in camera light meter.  The Digital Photography School explains how to use the meter if you aren’t sure how.  For sports photos, Photography Mad suggests to start at 1/500 and get faster from there.  I had to use a faster shutter speed to capture the baseball in the following photo.

IMG_5719 copy
Aperture: 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/2000, ISO: 800


If your shutter speed isn’t as fast as you desire, you can increase the ISO.  If you are taking photos in the sun, you won’t need a high ISO, but if it is cloudy, your ISO will need to be higher.  The trick to ISO is only going as high as needed.  Digital Photo Secrets gives a more in depth explanation of ISO.  If I would have used a higher ISO in the following photo, the ball would have been more clear.

IMG_5246 copyNoahPolcyn
Aperture: 3.2, Shutter Speed: 1/1000, ISO: 400

What are your favorite sports to shoot?  Share your experiences and photos with me on Twitter and Instagram!



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