High-speed photography is one of the most challenging photography genres out there. Beginners and professionals alike are constantly tested on their ability to accurately and precisely capture objects in motion.
Capturing a bullet piercing through an apple, glass shattering mid-air, a balloon popping, a droplet breaking the surface tension of water, or a lightning bolt lighting up a dark, stormy sky, are just some of the most fascinating photos that this photography type has produced over the years.
But do you capture a subject that moves from point A to point B in a quarter of a second? How do you make sure that you don’t miss the best part of a high-speed event? How can you avoid blurry images and overexposed shots?
Sports photographers who find the methods of high-speed photography useful to their field have asked the same questions.
In this article, we’ll focus on sports photography and how the techniques of high-speed photography can help beginners and professionals come up with smart and practical tips to capture the most glorious moments in sports.
Sports Photography Tips Using High-Speed Photography Techniques
Sports photography, from its name, focuses on capturing live sports events. It means that the subjects move unpredictably, and they move fast. You are also going to deal with erratic light conditions.
In this section, we’ll talk about some of the techniques used in high-speed photography that you can apply in capturing sports photos.
Almost all sports events are held in large stadiums. Remember that you will be dealing with the chaos of the crowd and the unpredictability of the players’ movement. How will you be able to deliver photos with good composition?
High-speed photographers face the same problems and they counter similar uncertainties of these unpredictabilities through smart, careful planning.
Plan a shooting position where you can set up your tripod and fix your camera to a specific spot where you can catch the main game highlights. Your spot should be near enough to get a clear shot of the action but far enough to get out of the way from foot traffic.
To get a good composition, you must be familiar with the sports and their signature moves and formation. That way, you can anticipate actions and events. More importantly, make sure your location allows you to focus on your subject’s faces, their actions, or their equipment.
2. Lens, Focus, and Background
Telephoto and zoom lenses really come in handy, especially for sports events held in large outdoor spaces. For starters, activate a narrow depth of field to focus on the players. Also, practice panning to give your subjects room for movement and possibilities of actions.
To get interesting backgrounds, you can use the colorful palettes from a blurred-out crowd. There are other elements that you can use, such as LED screens, jumbotrons, flashing scoreboards, and other equipment that will create a more dynamic image. You can also use motion blur to your advantage, to convey a sense of speed.
If you want to capture more unique photos and get away from the cliche, you should try playing around with the composition, angle, and subject matter. You may experiment with black and white photography to add drama and intensity to your images.
3. Shutter Speed
The shutter speed determines the success or failure of high-speed sports photography. You may have the right camera equipment, the best composition in mind, and the correct settings for the lighting, but are you fast enough to click the shutter to capture a millisecond event?
Humans don’t have fast enough reflexes for our brain to signal our body to move and predicting movement can only do so much. The good news is that high-speed photographers can tell you a thing or two about overcoming these challenges using the MIOPS high-speed camera trigger.
4. Using MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger for High-Speed Sports Photography
As established in earlier sections, sports photography and high-speed photography have many things in common. One of these is their dependence on how fast you can activate your camera’s shutter to capture extremely fast events and movements. Both can accomplish this using external camera triggers.
The MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger, aside from providing a remote trigger function to DSLR cameras, features different capturing modes and built-in sensors that make capturing complex, unpredictable, and intimidating sports images possible.
5. Activating MIOPS’ Laser Mode and Sound Mode to Capture Sports Photos
When it comes to capturing sports photographs, there are two MIOPS trigger modes and sensors that stand out: the Laser Mode and the Sound Mode.
MIOPS’s laser mode makes use of its built-in motion sensor. When the subject breaks the laser, the MIOPS trigger detects the movement and instantly, at a millisecond speed, signals the camera’s shutter to shoot.
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
On the other hand, the remote trigger’s sound mode relies on the device’s sound sensor and how it can detect loud events to trigger the camera to shoot.
MIOPS trigger also gives you the option to adjust your camera’s reaction time to a millisecond level, helping you decide when you want your camera to take the shot. You can also set how many photos you want to capture, as well as the sequence and interval between these shots.
6. Using MIOPS Camera Trigger Sensors for Specific Sports Events
You can activate these sensors remotely, save settings for future photoshoots, or pre-adjust the settings to prepare for specific sports events where the modes are applicable.
For instance, the Laser Mode shutter-triggering sensors can be used by skateboarders who want to capture their coolest tricks. The same settings are also ideal for capturing awesome basketball dunks, soccer goal kicks, archery bulls-eye close-ups, or a marathon runner’s epic finish.
The Sound Mode is best for loud sports events, such as shooting and marksmanship sports, Formula 1 racing, motocross, motor rallying, and kart racing, among others. It’s a given that almost all sports events are loud from the cheers of the crowd and noise from other equipment so the MIOPS Camera trigger allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor so it can only pick up specific sounds created by your subject.
We’ll look into more examples later in the article.
Sports events often have irregular lighting conditions, especially daytime outdoor events that last for several hours. The ever-changing light conditions will require you to constantly adjust your camera settings if you don’t want to end up with over-exposed or under-exposed shots. However, there are instances where instant adjustments are not possible.
For one, some sports events require photographers to set up their cameras on spots that are off-limits while the game is ongoing. Another problem is that even if your camera is within reach, how can you make sure that you don’t miss a shot while doing your adjustments?
This is where we can deploy a smart camera trigger. How can it help?
For starters, MIOPS has a dedicated mobile app for their camera trigger. Through the app, you can remotely trigger your camera’s shutter, but the most important part is that you can also control your settings from a distance to answer specific lighting conditions.
You can save these settings and use them in the future for similar lighting requirements, instantly, without going through the same time-consuming adjustments.
Now that we’ve covered fundamental sports photography tips using techniques from high-speed photography, it’s time to see how these can be applied in capturing different sports events. We’ve prepared some examples for you!
Sports Photography Tricks and Ideas to Try with Your Camera Trigger
In this section, we’ll give you tips and tricks on photographing specific sports. These sports are full of fast motions and dramatic moments that can produce many amazing images and level up your high-speed photography skills.
To practice your high-speed sports photography, you don’t actually have to stick to professional sporting events. Instead, you can capture the sports that are most accessible to you. If you live in a city, it is very likely that there is a thriving urban sports scene in your area.
1. Urban Sports
Urban sports are a broad class of sports that are played in the cities’ public settings, as opposed to mainstream sports which are held in dedicated stadiums and fields. They can include activities such as skateboarding, parkour, BMX, inline skating, and many other spontaneous and expressive uses of the city environment.
One of the best advantages of photographing urban sports is the ability to get much closer to your subjects than you usually would be able to in a pro sports setting. It also gives you the freedom to have a perfect camera set up to catch your most amazing tricks.
Let’s choose skateboarding as an example. Position your camera where you can get a good angle for a dynamic photo. Choose Laser Mode and predict a landing or movement track. Adjust your settings accordingly and start shooting.
Every time your board or your body breaks the laser, the wireless trigger will automatically activate your camera’s shutter to take multiple shots of your movements. No need to constantly click the shutter as the trigger will do it for you. Just execute your tricks, be natural, and have fun! Your camera will do the rest.
2. Famous Ball Games
Popular ball games give professional photographers a venue where they can practice their high-speed photography techniques.
You can manually click your camera’s shutter or use a camera trigger for these events, so we’re just here to give you some sports photography tricks for inspiration.
Some of the most interesting shots from tennis matches are taken when the players’ racquets make contact with the ball. Experiment with various angles, and aim for photos that include the players’ expressions for a more dramatic image. Since it’s impossible to predict the path of the ball, the best approach would be to take as many images as you can.
With baseball pitches and ball exits reaching speeds of more than 100mph, capturing a baseball in mid-flight is a challenge for even the fastest shutter speed. Instead, you can focus on the runners, catchers, or batters. You can focus on their form and movement as they hit a home run or run towards the goal. You can also capture that rare jump and miracle catch that saves the game.
3. Other Professional Sports
If you’re a professional photographer who wants to capture the greatest moments in sports history, you can rely on camera triggers to do the job. Whether capturing photos during practice games or actual competitions, a wireless high-speed trigger is your camera’s best partner.
Let’s take a look at some examples of sports events where you can take advantage of the intuitive features of remote camera triggers.
It’s an exhilarating experience to be able to capture the smooth, graceful movements of an ice skater. Although professional ice skaters can make their routines seem so effortless, there is a tremendous amount of control and power that goes into each and every movement.
Sports photographers specializing in capturing the most beautiful routines of ice skating events know how a fast shutter speed can help them capture the exquisite forms of these dancers, especially when they jump and soar mid-air during their flips, toe loops, salchows, axels, and lutz jumps.
These jumps happen in a split of a second until they land and glide to move on to the next part of their routine. Photographers know that they have no time to waste and every second counts. Using the fast reflex on a camera trigger, they can easily freeze these moments and immortalize them in their photos.
Archery is a sport with many fine, graceful elements that translate beautifully into images. The athletes’ poised figures, the curves of the bow, and the sharp, sleek line of the arrow are all worthy subjects for photography. However, the highlight of this event is the arrow making its way to their target board
As a photographer, how do you capture the majestic flight of the arrow as it flies across the field to its predestined target? A remote camera trigger can make it possible.
The distinct twang of the bowstring as it launches the arrow, or the sound of the arrow hitting the target can activate the trigger’s sound sensor and signal your camera to shoot.
If you can position your camera near the target boards, you can also rely on the trigger’s laser mode to activate its motion sensor so it signals the shutter as soon as the arrow breaks the laser.
Getting Started on Your High-Speed Sports Photography Journey
Now that you are equipped with the tips and tricks for successful high-speed sports photography, you’re almost ready to take the first step of your journey into this new genre.
Aside from having the experience and creativity to overcome its challenges, photographers also need to have the right camera equipment to complete a successful high-speed shoot. We can help you with that. Get to know more about MIOPS Smart and what it can offer!
Blog Credit: Charm Villalon
Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.