How to Photograph Rapidly Moving Objects

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The human eye follows an object in motion, focusing with ease but a camera captures one instant in time and you could end up with a blurred image if you don't adjust your camera correctly. When you want to show the world the action you’re seeing in person, try a few techniques to improve your action photography.

  • Pick a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. By increasing the speed, you decrease the amount of time the shutter is open, allowing you to capture a moving object. The faster the object is moving, the higher the required shutter speed. However, with fast shutter speeds, images can appear dark. Use a flash if the object is close enough to illuminate.

  • Pan your camera to capture a crisp photograph of the moving object while blurring the background. A technique use by the pros to simulate the look of speed; turn on your camera’s auto focus and, with your finger on the shutter release, move the camera, keeping the object in the viewfinder and taking the photograph when you’re ready.

  • Set up a tripod with a slow shutter speed and focus on the background while taking the image. The moving object in the foreground will become a motion blur. Experiment with various shutter speeds in order to capture the essence of the object, yet blur it beyond recognition.

  • Increase the focal length to prevent blurring. You’ve probably noticed how a super close-up of someone is usually blurry. That’s because the camera’s sensor can’t react quickly enough to freeze the action. However, if you back away from the moving object and use the camera’s zoom feature, the camera has time to focus and freeze the motion.

  • Adjust your shutter speed if the object is moving towards you or away from you as opposed to moving horizontally in the viewfinder. Fewer pixels in the camera’s sensor are involved with an object that is moving closer or father away, whereas a horizontally moving object involves more pixels, slowing down the reaction time of the sensor.

  • Reduce the depth of field in order to capture a rapidly moving object in sharp focus. The aperture, when stopped down, decreases the distance between the focus of foreground objects and those in the distance. As a result, it increases your odds of capturing a sharply focused moving object. Choose aperture-priority mode and increase the f-stop number in order to stop down the aperture.

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