Shutter speed for sports is possibly the most important setting you’ll need to understand to capture amazing action photos.
Choosing a shutter speed for sports images is all about speed, use a speed that’s too slow and your images will come out blurry. This is a common problem if you’ve been shooting with a point-and-shoot. That’s why we recommend looking into purchasing a DSLR like the one’s found in our camera guide.
The shutter speed determines how long the sensor (which captures the light thus creating the image) is exposed to light. A longer shutter speed causes more light to “gather” on the sensor and create the image. So if your shutter speed is 1 second, the shutter will be open for a full second. As fast action moves by, the sensor captures it as a streak over the full second creating a blurry image.
Recommended Shutter Speeds for Sports Action
For most sports, any speed that’s faster than 1/500th second should be sufficient to stop the action and render a sharp image. Try to keep your shutter speed at least this fast, if not significantly faster. This will require you to turn up your ISO and open up the aperture. We recommend starting with the camera in Shutter-Priority mode where you will only need to set your shutter speed and the camera will set the rest. Choose a fast speed and the image blur will be gone! Once you get the hang of it, start playing with this in manual mode, where you will need to adjust aperture and ISO as well.
The problem with using a fast shutter speed? Less light is allowed onto the camera’s sensor. In certain situations (i.e. cloudy days, sunrise/sunset, spotty forest lighting) you will need to crank up your ISO and open the aperture to let enough light in for a properly exposed image. Again, try shooting in Shutter-priority until you fully understand how this works.
Next Guide Article: Aperture and Action Explained