Ugh Blurry Sport Photos

July 10, 2013  •  1 Comment

 

A very common question that comes up when I teach One on One photo classes  is  "Why are my sports photos so blurry?" That is a very good question and unfortunately a little complicated to explain so I will do my best.

There are two main issues #1 Slow Shutter Speeds and #2 Focus Problems.

The photos below were sent to me by a local mom who is having some issues with basketball photos. Photographing in a gym makes stopping action all that more difficult due to the low light levels.

Camera: Canon Rebel. Mode: Auto or Sports. No additional camera settings available.

Note: I use Canon cameras so some of my references may be different from your camera. Some point and shoot cameras may have different features.

Pine Island 12-15-12 012

For this first image it looks like the camera was focusing on the background (people on bleachers) rather

than on the player. Check to see if you can change your focus point on your camera or lock the focus point.

You may also have a setting to track your subject. This can be helpful with a moving player.

Pine Island 12-15-12 059 Winona Cotter 12-18-12 049

The next two images are  blurry because the shutter speed on the camera was  too slow.

Most cameras have a SPORTS mode but that doesn't mean the camera will select the best settings for your situation. Seems strange but true.

The best option is to increase your ISO (remember film speeds from the old days?) the higher ISOs

make the camera more sensitive to light soooo you can user a faster shutter speed. Totally confused?

Here is an example:

 Change the mode to  TV (Time Value aka Shutter Speed Priority) or P (Program mode). Set the ISO to 1600.

Set the shutter speed to 1/250 or faster (the higher the number the faster the shutter speed the morel likely you are to freeze/stop action).

If your images are too dark you may need to increase the ISO even higher.

55-10125-iso_controls_teaser

So you're probably wondering why don't cameras just automatically use a higher ISO setting? There are some drawbacks for any camera. Many can't handle high ISOs very well. Image quality can start to suffer with higher ISOs. The color and contrast may flatten and the image gets noisy/grainy. The good news is that if you are just viewing small images on the web they may not look too bad.

iso-sensitivity-comparison

photo from www.exposureguide.com

High end DSLRs and some types of software can improve the ISO image quality.

Other things to think about when shooting SPORTS:

  • Try using a TRIPOD/MONOPOD. This will stabilize the camera especially if you are using a long lens.
  • Continuous shooting helps capture several images quickly. 
  • Anticipate shots so you know where to be during a game.
  • Try changing your point of view or get closer. If you don't feel comfortable doing that during a game try taking some shots while they are practicing when you won't be a disturbance.
  • Turn your flash off. The flash can only carry so far before it drops off plus it can be distracting to the players.
  • And lastly don't be afraid to pull out your camera manual.

 

Want more help? Contact Janet for a One on One Camera Lesson.


Comments

1.kw(non-registered)
Thanks Janet. Helpful tips! Bringing a tripod on vacation seriously improved my moving wildlife shots.....
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