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