Action Sports Photography Tip Number 12....Shutter Speed At Least 1/250th Of A Second
Tip #12) Shutter Speed At Least 1/250th Of A Second.... In most action sports photography, but not all the time, you will want to freeze the action and get a nice crisp clear photo. In order to stop the action and have minimal blur, your shutter speed should be at least 1/250th of a second.
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I have found that this shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, does a good job of stopping action, especially action of people. Now if you want to stop a ball or a hockey stick, then you should have a faster shutter speed like 1/400, or 1/500, or 1/1000th of a second, or more. When using 1/250th of a second, you will still get some blur, but its a good minimum starting point, if you are indoors and the lighting is kind of dim.
If you really want photos with no blur, then 1/250th of a second probably won't be fast enough. If you can it is better to go faster for action sports photography, but that isn't always possible with the lighting conditions.
If you are shooting with flash, then your fastest shutter speed will have to be 1/250th of a second, if your camera is capable of that, some can only flash sync to 1/60th of a second, which wouldn't be good for action sports photography. If your camera has only a 1/60th of a second flash sync speed, then it would probably be better to get a camera that has a flash sync of 1/250th of a second.
For those of you that don't know, camera flash sync speed is the fastest shutter speed that the camera and flash can stay in sync with eachother.
There are times when you might want a slower shutter speed if you want some motion blur in your photos. If that's the case, you will have to experiment with different shutter speeds to see which one delivers the motion blur that you are looking for. You could try 1/30th of a second, or slightly faster or slower to get the desired results.
You might also want to try panning with the action to create a cool streaking effect. Again you will have to experiment with different shutter speeds, but start with 1/30th of a second. To pan with the action, just follow the action, trying to stay with the main subject as steady as you can, and when they pass in front of you as you are following them with your camera, take a bunch of photos. Hopefully some of them have clear faces in them, with the background totally blurred and streaky. This is a really cool effect if done correctly with good lighting and good blur.