One of the first things I learned as a sports photographer is that once the action starts I never have time to adjust the settings on my camera. Sports photography is fast paced and if you want to get great shots your camera has to be ready. If you are interested in taking sports and action photos as a profession or even a hobby there are a few things you can do to ensure that your camera is ready.
You are probably already familiar with the basic settings on your camera. This includes the settings for exposure, autofocus and the drive modes. Once you have these three functions set to match your location and the type of action you are trying to capture chances are you will be able to take crisp action shots.
If you want to improve your chances of taking great sports photographs there are a few other settings you might want to adjust. This can also limit the number of photos that you take accidentally, and I have learned that this is a definite advantage. One of the first things you’ll want to do is set the AE/AF button in “AF” mode. This way instead of pressing on the shutter to turn the autofocus function on, you will use the AE/AF button. Not only does this make it easier to track a moving subject, it also eliminates a lot of mistakes since you are only pressing the shutter when you are ready to snap the photo. You also want to make sure that the camera is set for “continual autofocus”.
When you are setting the drive mode make sure that it is on the highest speed so your camera is always ready to go. I have learned the hard way that if my camera isn’t ready there is no way that I will be able to take a great or even good shot. This is also true for the exposure mode, which should be set in “S”. This way you have the option have using a fast shutter speed for crisp clear shots or one that is slightly slower to add a little artistic blurring to the moving image. You also want to pay attention to the ISO setting, and this will depend on the amount of light. For clear moving images in low light you will want to have the ISO set to at least 400 if not higher. If there is plenty of light your photos will turn out best if you have the ISO set to 200 or lower.
Now that you know how to set your camera up ahead of time, you should be ready to go out and take some great sports and action photographs.