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Freeze the Motion
Tips for Motion Photography

The beauty of dynamic photography lies in the uniqueness of each shot. There is a lot of hard work and skills that need to be developed in order to capture the fabulous, split-second action in a tension-filled sport contest. In this issue, we will share the tips for capturing dynamic shots. We also feature stunning photos taken by Canon Pro Ambassadors Brian Ching and Thomas Lam @Create Images to demonstrate how to reveal the image details precisely in this article.

High-Speed Shutter to Freeze the Motion

There are quite a number of limitations when it comes to sports photography– for example one has to keep a far distance with the athletes when shooting. In the meantime, photographer has to use a high-speed shutter to capture the facial expressions or actions. Given this circumstance, a telephoto zoom lens is the most preferred lens type to use. For camera setting, Tv Mode is recommended as it allows us to set the shutter speed according to the pace and speed of the sports. When taking photos of football, basketball or boxing contests, for example, a shutter speed of 1/400s or above is fast enough to freeze the motion in clarity.
Title: 《空中決戰》 Club Canon Member: Neo Ng
EOS-1D X • EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM • 1/640s • f/2.8 • ISO 2500
Normally flash is prohibited when taking photos in the sports stadium to avoid causing interference to the players. Besides, the maximum flash sync speed is only 1/250s if not using high-speed sync mode, which is not fast enough to freeze the scene. In order to freeze the dedicated facial expressions of the athletes precisely, use of large aperture lens (such as f/2) can allow for higher shutter speed and the shallow depth of field it creates can make the subject stand out. When shooting in dimly lit indoor environment and there is a high chance of under exposure, we can adjust to a higher ISO setting such as ISO 1600 or ISO 3200 for better exposure performance. It is also suggested to shoot in RAW format to facilitate easy post-production on the image’s brightness.
Photo by Brian Ching
EOS-1D X • EF 50mm f/1.2L USM • 1/1000s • f/1.2 • ISO 1600

Pan Shots Using Slow-Speed Shutter to Emphasize the Sense of Speed

To enhance the sense of speed in a dynamic shot, we can use a slow-speed shutter and pan the camera with the subject to outstand the subject’s motion with a blurry background. The slow-speed shutter we mention here is around 1/40s, which is relatively slow when compared to the sports itself. Set the camera’s AF setting to “AI SERVO” and the drive mode to “Continuous Shooting” or “High-Speed Continuous Shooting”, and shoot in Tv Mode or Manual Mode. Simply pan your camera horizontally and follow the subject’s movement to create photo that captures a sharp subject on a blurry background.
Title: 《獨領風騷》 Club Canon Member: Cyrillkk
EOS 5D Mark III • EF 80-200mm f/2.8L • 1/40s • f/11.0 • ISO 50
Specialized in motorsport photography, professional photographer Thomas Lam @Create Images uses pan shots to convey the sense of speed in motorsport racing. According to Thomas, since a race car is a subject big in size and the generally narrow width of the road in Hong Kong, a long range lens is not necessary. In general, 24-70mm is the ideal range to use. It provides photographer with the flexibility to adjust the focal length according to the actual scene when panning. Different focal lengths will result in different composition as well. For example, using a standard focal length can record the race car and a few amount of background, enriching the composition while keeping the car as the main focus. A wider focal length can include more background elements which can help establish stronger connection between the car and the circuit. It can also create one-of-a-kind photo that captures the action when a race car makes a turn.
Photo by Thomas Lam @Create Images
EOS-1D X • EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM • 1/125s • f/8 • ISO 50

Skillful Composition to Capture the Atmosphere

There are mainly two directions to frame a sports shot - one is to capture the posture and facial expressions of the athletes, the other is to capture the contest’s atmosphere. According to professional sports photographer Brian Ching, it is important to have a certain understanding about the sports to shoot in order to capture some really stunning photos. Therefore, before taking photos of a boxing contest, Brian did some research about the rules of the contest and how a boxer plays. For example, at the beginning of a contest, a boxer usually would not pummel but only to spar to test how would the opponent react. By knowing this, it would be easier for the photographer to achieve some nice shots with the ideal composition. Besides, Brian also mentioned that a boxer moves quickly and constantly to the left and right. So it is important to have your focus follow suit to ensure accurate and sharp image.
The 135mm medium to telephoto length is well suited for taking close-up shots of the expressions, half-length action and other elements in the stadium, retaining the connection between the subject and the background while conveying the contest’s atmosphere

Photo by Brian Ching
EOS-1D X • EF 135mm f/2L USM • 1/320s • f/2 • ISO 3200
Using an ultra wide-angle lens and shooting from a low angle can include both the boxer and the boxing stage in the composition. In addition to help telling the story, the perspective of a wide-angle lens can also make the arm of the boxer look slimmer and extruded. The use of a low shooting angle can accentuate the power of a hard punch; coupled with the lighting setup a tension-filled photo is captured.
Photo by Brian Ching
EOS 5DS R • EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM: • 1/160s • f/7.1 • ISO 800

EF Lenses – Capturing Exceptional Sense of Speed

EOSEOS digital SLR cameras coupled with EF lenses that offer a wide range of choices on focal lengths and functions can help you capture the split-second motion precisely! From now till 31 December 2015, you can receive a limited edition EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM 8GB USB for free upon any purchase of selected EF lenses.

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