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Camera Settings for Different Moving Objects

Sports Photography

Camera Settings for Different Moving Objects

Sports Photography is fast-paced and requires a decent telephoto lens to pick players out of an often crowded field and background crowd. And, obviously, some sports are faster than others! Here are some settings to start with:

Outdoor Sports – If you want your subject sharp, start with 1/500th shutter speed and an aperture of f5.6 to blur out your background and make the player ‘pop’ out of the image. Adjust your ISO up as needed. Start at ISO 100 on a sunny day and ISO 400 on a cloudy day.

Indoor Sports – Use the same shutter speed and aperture as outdoors but start with an ISO of 400 and work up, as there will be less light at an indoor venue. Make sure to also choose an appropriate white balance setting for the artificial lighting. Auto white balance is normally pretty accurate, but large panels of tungsten or fluorescent lighting can confuse it, so it’s best to set the appropriate white balance manually.

Faster Moving Sports – Some sports move extremely quickly! Good examples of this are motor racing or horse racing. You will need slightly different settings here. To freeze the action completely, use a shutter speed of 1/1000th with an aperture of f8 and a base ISO of 100 (adjust this upwards as needed). If you want to convey a sense of motion, you can introduce a little blur into the image (for example, on a car’s wheels) by lowering your shutter speed to around 1/800th.

Wildlife Photography

Camera Settings for Different Moving Objects

Wildlife photography covers a large number of animals, birds, and insects. For any work with wild animals, you need to make sure that you’re concealed adequately and don’t do anything to spook your subject. Whilst some of your images may contain static subjects, animals do (in my experience) tend to move around a lot! Again, you will need a telephoto lens so that you can shoot from a reasonable distance.

Tropical Climates – If you’re lucky enough to be on safari in Africa, you’ll most probably be dealing with very bright skies and sun. Shoot moving subjects at 1/4000th shutter speed and ISO 100. If it won’t overexpose your image, use an aperture of around f4–f5.6. Obviously, you’ll have to use a smaller aperture if necessary.

Overcast Skies/Winter Weather – Start with a shutter speed of 1/500th, aperture of f4, and an ISO of 800.

Landscapes and Moving Subjects – If you’re in a particularly picturesque part of the world, you might want to get your entire frame sharp. A classic example of this is photographs that capture the migration of animals across Africa. Start with a shutter speed of 1/500th, ISO 100, and an aperture of f16 to f22.

Action photography isn’t always about the obvious! Speaking from many, many years of photographing both, children and animals don’t always sit still! Of course, that’s part of the charm and what helps to capture personalities. So, it’s advisable to treat kids and pets as moving subjects.

Head and Shoulders – Start with a shutter speed of 1/125th and an aperture of f5.6. If you’re outdoors in good weather, use an ISO of 100 and ISO 400 in cloudy/overcast weather. Switch the ISO to 800 in artificial indoor lighting.

Full Length – Keep your shutter speed and ISO the same as above but use a smaller aperture of f8, which will give you a larger depth of field to get the whole subject sharp.