- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- How to Create Stunning D igital Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- 500 Poses for Photographing Women
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
- Selling Your Photography: Ho w to Make Money in New and Traditional Markets
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photograp her
- Photographer's Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liab ilities of Making Images
- Taking Stock: Make money in microstock creating photos that sell
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
High speed photography is one way of shooting spectacular images, full of drama. It is a kind of photography that has that “Wow!” effect to it that is particular to this medium because it relies on freezing time. Objects moving at very high speeds, like race cars, are a great subject for this kind of photography. Besides capturing fast motion, high speed photography also refers to photographing at a fast frame rate.
The two most important factors you need to take into account are the shutter speed and the flash.
About the shutter
I like to think of a camera shutter like an eye lid. It has about the same purpose: it dictates the amount of time your sensor stays exposed to light. The longer the shutter stays open, the more light will come through. With high speed photography, you want the exact opposite. You want to freeze a certain moment in time, and for that you need a very high speed, something like 1/250, 1/500 or 1/1000th of a second. The problem is that because you aren’t exposing for very long, there is a good chance that not enough light will go through. You don’t want to end up with a dark picture, so you need to do something about it. There are a few ways to counter this fast shutter effect. Number one and most obvious, position yourself in a spot with plenty of light. It really depends on what you’re photographing, but if it’s a motorsport, look for the place where the sun is shining on the track. Next, you can boost the ISO. Normally you wouldn’t need an ISO value of 400 or 800 in broad daylight, but since you will be using a fast shutter speed, you have to compensate, so boost the sensitivity of the sensor. Also, photograph at maximum aperture. You are already loosing light because of the shutter speed so you don’t want the lens to block anything out. Fast lenses with f2.8 apertures are the best option.
About the flash
Knowing how to properly use a camera flash can make a big difference in the quality of your images. Many people are afraid of using flash and accuse it of ruining their photos, but the truth is they just don’t know how to use it.
When you’re going for high speed photograph with a flash, the usual shutter speeds range from 1/80 to 1/250th of a second. But here is something very important you need to remember: the shutter speed does absolutely nothing to control the output of the flash. You control the flash via aperture. That’s how it works with any camera. The flash can freeze a moment in time by being relatively independent from the shutter speed. Think of a dance ring at a wedding. It’s pretty dark for regular photography, but if you turn your flash on, you will freeze someone in a probably awkward dancing position.
Much like anything else, high speed photography takes practice. Shooting outdoors at sports events can be a bit more demanding. The lenses are usually long, so it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a tripod or monopod. Try to anticipate the subject’s move as it will help you frame better. Good luck and remember to have fun with it!