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Freeze the Action with Fast Shutter Speeds

By Chris Corradino on April 19, 2016


The New York Institute of Photography is one of the world’s largest photography schools and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips on our photography blog. Please enjoy!

Freeze the Action with Fast Shutter Speeds

When photographing competitive sports, or any high action scenario, you will need to push the shutter speed to a faster exposure time. Many of my favorite action sports shots were taken at 1/500. It’s quick enough to freeze an athlete sprinting down a field without showing any motion blur. As you work with shutter speeds this quick, it’s important to understand how it’s affecting your exposure. Since the actual shutter is only open for a brief duration, it does not allow much light to reach the sensor. The raised ISO along with a wider aperture like f4 will compensate accordingly.

Lightning fast shutter speeds like 1/1000 give us the ability to seemingly pause life. Thanks to advances in technology, you are capturing instances that the human eye wouldn’t catch. I reserve this specific setting for the type of heart pounding action you find at air shows, or in extreme sports. To get a sense of just how fast this is, 1/1000 will freeze the spinning blades of an industrial strength room fan. It will also stop an F18 jet as it zooms past at 500 miles per hour.

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