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How To Capture Great Photos In Low Light

Sports games are often indoors or in the evenings, which can make lighting less than ideal. As sports photographers, we don’t always get to choose the times or locations of our games and since flash is a big no-no in sports photography, we have to learn to capture great photos in low light.

_RS23976Use Manual Mode

Hopefully you are already experiencing with using manual modes but if you have not, then low light is the time to try it. Your camera settings are not designed to help shoot action in low light so you want to take the camera off automatic mode.

Increase Your Shutter Speed

(If you haven’t read our article on shutter speed, you can do so here)

If you are using auto mode when shooting sports photos in darker conditions, the camera will automatically adjust itself to low light levels which is going to decrease the shutter speed. A slower shutter speed means that the camera has more time to let light in, which is good if you are in low light, but the problem with slow shutter speed in sports photography is that it causes blurry photos. You actually need to increase your shutter speed to decrease the possibility of blur. Yes, that means the camera might have harder time letting in light in such a short amount of time but we’re about to handle that.

Increase Your ISO

(If you haven’t read our article on ISO, you can do so here)

The higher your ISO is, the more sensitive it is to light, which means it will capture more light in your photo. The flip side of this is, of course, that the higher the ISO, the grainier or noisier the photo will be. Every camera is different so you should take some test shots with higher ISOs to see what the limit is before your camera starts shooting grainy photos.

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Open Your Aperture

Open up your aperture to the widest opening your lens has. That means more light will pass through the lens into your camera. Since you don’t have a lot of light to begin with, opening up your aperture will help you maximize the light you do have. Be aware that even opening up your lens to its biggest setting might still not allow enough light to come in if you’re using a slow lens.

Use a Faster Lens

If you know you are frequently going to be shooting sports or action photography in low light, you may want to invest in a faster lens that will allow for faster shutter speed and wide apertures to help improve your photos.

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The focus is an important to note when shooting in low light. When you are shooting with a wide aperture, your depth of field can decrease to very shallow depths. That means perfect focus on your subject is even more critical at night because of your limited depth of field.

Conditions are not always ideal for photographing but that does not mean you still can’t capture high quality photos in low light.

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Georgetown vs. St. John’s Men’s Lacrosse

This past weekend, DC Sports Photography Academy took our newest student to the lacrosse field to capture the Georgetown Hoyas men’s lacrosse team take on St. John’s.

Art is a music teacher at a local public school who has been enjoying sports photography as a hobby over the last year. His goal was to improve his skills so that he could have more of those “keeper” photos by learning to use his equipment better and experimenting with his photography style.

Have a look at the great shots Art took during the game!

Art will be back to shoot different sports with us later on this season and we look forward to watching his photography evolve!

At DC Sports Photography Academy, you can create the learning experience you need to learn the skills you want! Whether you shoot one game or multiple or shoot different sports or focus on one style; it’s a completely customized experience! Learn about our packages here.

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A Guide to Lenses for Your DSLR

StockSnap_9AXI43044HIf you want to improve your photography skills, you will want to make the most out of your equipment. This includes knowing the right lens for your photos! A good camera lens can make a big difference in the look of your photos. There is no one right answer to which lens you should buy for your camera but it’s important to understand the difference between different lenses. Always try and use the best lens for the job at hand. Here are the most common lenses and how you should use them:

Standard Lenses –

If you recently purchased a DSLR, it might have come with a starter or kit lens. These are typically standard lenses. Standard lenses have an angle of view that is similar to a human eye so they take photos that appear natural. Standard lenses can be used for many different types of photos, from street photography to landscape or portrait.

Macro Lenses –

Macro lenses were designed for close-up photography. Many macro lenses produce a 1:1 image, which means the subject is reproduced on the camera sensor at life-size, providing plenty of detail for the photo. They that give great image sharpness and contrast and create eye-catching photos. Macro lenses are ideal for shooting smaller subjects like flowers or insects.

Telephoto and Super Telephoto Lenses –

Telephoto lenses have long local lengths over 70 mm. They help you photograph subjects that are farther away. Telephoto lenses focus on a narrower field of view and can bring far away subjects much closer. Telephoto lenses are often bigger and heavier than other lenses and are most frequently used for shooting wildlife or sporting events.

Wide Angle Lenses –

Wide angle lenses have shorter focal lengths, between 24mm and 35 mm. They provide an angle of view that is beyond a standard lenses so they can capture more of a scene in a single shot. Wide angles magnify the perceived distance between subjects in the foreground and background and can give an exaggeration of lines and curves in photos. Many people use wide angle lenses for landscape photos or when they are trying to get a large subject into a frame, like photographing a large group of people.

We also want you to know the difference between prime lenses and zoom lenses, just to help make your shopping easier!

Prime Lenses vs. Zoom Lenses-

A prime lens is one with a fixed focal length. You can get prime lenses in various focal lengths, from wide-angle to telephoto. A zoom lens is one that can be zoomed in or out providing different focal lengths. Prime lenses typically have wider apertures, which gives them better low-light performance and they have a better optical quality than zooms. But zoom lenses provide more flexibility in their ability to shoot at different focal lengths but at slower apertures.

The right lens depends on your photography subjects and your level of experience. You should shop around to find the right lens for your photos.

You can find any of these lenses at your local camera store or Amazon.

Interested in learning more about cameras and camera equipment! Check out these posts:
So You Got a Fancy New DSLR Camera… Now What?!
How to Get Started Using your DSLR Camera Settings
Using Wide Angle Lenses in Sports Photography
How to Find the Best Camera Equipment for Sports Photography

 

6 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Kid’s Sports

There’s nothing quite as fun as watching your child enjoy learning and playing sports. As a sideline parent, you have the important job of supporting them, no matter what goes on in the game. In addition to cheering on your kids, you may want to capture some photos of them so you and your child can remember their sports days for years to come!

But sports photos are tough to catch! How many times have you tried to photograph your child mid-shot only to wind up with a blurry photo? It happens to the best of us but there are a few simple tricks you can learn to decrease the chances of blurry or low quality photos of kid’s sports.

  1. Increase your shutter speed and use wide aperture

Women's Basketball vs DaytonIncreasing your shutter speed is one of the best things to do if you want to decrease the risk of blurriness in your photo. Fast shutter speeds help you freeze the action. Selecting a wider aperture will allow for a faster shutter speed and it also creates a more shallow depth of field, which is critical when you are focusing on your player.

2. Pay attention to your surroundings

When you are framing your shot, you want to take the background into consideration. You don’t want anything distracting in the background that could distract from the subject of the photo. You may want to invest in a zoom lens to help you zoom in or you can experiment with different angles to get the best shot.

3. Get on their level

When shooting kids sports, you may need to get down on their level. After all, you want to capture their expressions and the experience as closely as possible. That can mean kneeling or crouching down to capture the photos.

4. Pay attention to light youth sports photos

Good or bad lighting can make your photos look spectacular or turn them a terrible mess. If shooting outdoors on a bright sunny day, always try to shoot with the sun at your back to avoid being backlit. Cloudy days are by far the best for outdoor sports. The soft nature of the light coming through the clouds means you can shoot in any direction with no issues, but remember to raise your ISO to keep your shutter speed high. Indoor lighting can be poor and can make even the best composed photos look awful. The only solution is to use a lens with a big aperture and to increase your ISO even if it ends up higher that you’d like.

5. Don’t stop shooting

Even if you’ve think you have caught the perfect shot, it might not mean that you have! Keep pressing the shutter button to try to capture as many photos as possible. You never know what you will catch! And don’t miss out on the action because you’ve taken the time to look down at your photo after you’ve taken it. You can review your photos after the game but for now, keep shooting!

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6. The photos don’t have to stop when the action does.

There is more to the game then when your kid is at bat or kicking the ball. Look for moments when they are laughing with their teammate or talking to the coach or high fiving another player. Those moments are magical in sports as well and sometimes, they are even more memorable than those action photos!

Finally, perhaps more important than anything, don’t be so focused on the photos that you miss the game. Sports can be an extremely special times in a child’s life and you don’t want to miss out on the moments because you’re trying to find the right angle for the shot! Every now and then, it’s ok to put down the camera and enjoy!

Want to improve your sports photography skills? Learn about our customized packages! 

A Beginner Sports Photographer’s Guide to ISO

Over our last few posts we have been going into detail about the different camera settings that can help make sports photos go from amateur to pro.

If you missed our posts on shutter speed or aperture, check them out here and here.

Today we are discussing ISO, which is the third piece of the puzzle for great exposure and clear photos.

ISO is the level of sensitivity the sensor in your camera has to available light. If the ISO number is lower, the sensor is less sensitive to light and if the ISO number is higher, the sensor is more sensitive to light.

So why does this matter? Because higher sensitivity can help you capture the light better in a photo. This is key when you are shooting in a low light environment, say at an outdoor sports game at dusk or indoors where you can’t use a flash.

So you may be thinking that you will always want to use a higher ISO number, especially when you can’t use your flash. But there is a downside to increase sensitivity to light. Higher sensitivity adds grain or “noise” to the photo. This is what causes photos to look fuzzy or noisy and not as sharp and crisp. It’s a little bit art and science finding the right ISO number for your photos.

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A photo where increasing the ISO too much would have made it too grainy and unusable.

Every camera has a “base” ISO number. This is usually the lowest ISO number a camera can take to produce a high quality image without adding noise. Many amateur photographers just stick with the Base ISO in all environments. The Base ISO can help you when light is ideal but when you are working in darker conditions, you will want to understand how to adjust the ISO.

ISO numbers start from the base, which is either 100 or 200 and then they double in value. The ISO sequence is 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 and so on. The key thing to remember about ISO is that every time you increase the number, you double the sensitivity of the sensor. An ISO 400 is twice more sensitive than an ISO 200.

ISO works with shutter speed and aperture because the higher the ISO number, the less time the camera needs to capture the light. For instance, let’s say it takes 1 second for the camera to capture the scene at ISO 100. Well when you increase the ISO to 400, it will take 1/4 of a second to capture the scene. This is important when you are shooting subjects that are in motion. If your camera is at a lower ISO, your sensor needs a longer time to take the photo. A good rule of thumb to follow is that when you increase the ISO, you should increase your shutter speed as well.

If you are shooting on bright sunny days, you can leave your ISO at the Base ISO number or if your camera has the option, leave it at the Auto ISO. But when you are shooting in darker environments, like inside or in the evenings, you will want to increase the ISO number to help capture photos without blur.

At this point you may know that we always suggest the best way to learn about a particular setting is to experiment with it. Take the same photo using different ISO numbers to see the difference in light and graininess. Experiment in both indoor and outdoors light to get a really good feel for it!

Catch up on the rest of the posts in our series:

How To Get Started Using DSLR Camera Settings

A Beginner Sports Photographer’s Guide to Aperture

A Beginner Sports Photographer’s Guide to Shutter Speed

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A Beginner’s Sports Photographers Guide to Shutter Speed

Mastering your DSLR camera and taking it off auto mode is essential to taking great photos. While there are many different settings you can use, there are a few that will help you improve your sports photography skills. Today we are discussing shutter speed.

First, let’s explain what is the camera shutter. The camera shutter acts like a curtain in front of the camera sensor. It stays closed until the camera fires. When the camera fires and takes the photo, the shutter opens, fully exposing the camera sensor to the light that is passing through the aperture. When the sensor is done collecting light, the shutter closes immediately and stops the light from hitting the sensor.

Shutter speed describes the length of time a camera shutter is open to expose light into the camera. Shutter speed controls ability to demonstrate or stop motion in a photography.

Fast shutter speeds help freeze action completely. The shorter the time your shutter remains open, the more motion it will freeze. While slow shutter speeds can create a motion blur effect. The longer a shutter stays open, the more motion it will have time to record. Landscape photographers often use slow shutter speed to create a sense of motion in rivers or waterfalls.

Just remember that as long as the shutter is open, the camera is recording the position of the subjects in the frame and if one of those subjects move, there will be blurriness in the photos.

For sports photography, you will typically want to use a faster shutter speed, depending on the type of photo you want to take. But if you want to capture motion blur for artistic effects, like if you’re photographing a runner, you would use a slower shutter speed. In general, because the action is so fast in sports photography, you want to use a faster shutter speed.

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Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second. Usually 1/4 means a quarter of a second and 1/250 means one two hundred and fiftieth of a second. Some DSLRs have shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000th of a second.

You may be wondering how to control the shutter speed or where to find it on your camera. You can see the shutter speed on the bottom left side of the screen in the view finder. If your camera has a secret at the top of the camera, the shutter speed is usually displayed next to the aperture. It’s not usually displayed as a fraction though. so 1/200 is written as 200. to see if the number is a fraction or a second, look for the “ symbol. The “ symbol is used with shutter speeds of a second or longer.

There are two ways to control the shutter speed. The first is by using the camera in manual mode. The second is by using the shutter priority mode. In this mode, you as the photographer set the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the aperture based on the shutter speed you set.

The shutter speed is often set by the camera. When the camera is in Auto mode, the shutter speed and aperture are selected by the camera. If you shoot in Aperture priority, you set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed.

While we’re talking about shutter speed, it’s important we bring up camera shake. Camera shake occurs when you are hand-holding your camera. No matter how steady your hand may be, it’s not going to be perfectly still and the movement shows up in your photos as blurriness or lack of sharpness. You can avoid camera shake by using a faster shutter speed. if you want to avoid camera shake, the best advice is to not use a shutter speed that is slower than the focal lengths of your lens. In fact, most photographers advise that you set your shutter speed to the fraction of the focal length of your lens. So if you have a 200mm telephoto lens, you would use a shutter speed of 1/200 seconds or faster.

Now in our last post, we talked about aperture so we want to address how aperture and shutter speed work together. The aperture and shutter speed work together to determine how much light is let in to the sensor. If you remember, a small aperture lets in more light and a wide aperture lets in less light. When the aperture is wide, the shutter can go faster but the shutter speed must slow down for smaller apertures to give more time to let the light in. This is something of a balancing act and it may take some practice experimenting with both the aperture and the shutter speed.

Just like everything in photography, if you want to really master shutter speed, it’s best to practice experimenting with it. Take the same photo using different shutter speeds to see how the photos differ.

In our next post, we’re going to cover ISO and begin discussing how these three important components work together to create great photos.

If you haven’t checked out our post on aperture, you can read it here. 

A Beginner Sports Photographer’s Guide to Aperture

We’ve talked about camera settings and how to take better action photos but if you want to take your photography skills to next level, you will want to get to know a few key settings. Over the next few posts, we will be taking a deeper dive into some of the important techniques and settings in sports photography.

We begin with one of the most talked about subjects in photography, aperture. Aperture is the opening in the lens through which light travels through. The size of the opening can be adjusted to let more or less light in. The larger the aperture, the more light hits the sensor and the smaller the aperture, the less light will hit the sensor.

It might be easier to think about the aperture like the pupil of a human eye. The iris of your eye (which is the colored part of your eye around the pupil) expands and contracts, controlling the size of the pupil. The smaller the pupil, the less light can hit the retina. The camera works in a very similar way. The smaller the aperture, the less light that can hit the sensor.

The aperture is measured in f-stops. When you change the f-stop on your settings, you change the size of the opening in the camera. Here is the tricky part of aperture that might take some getting used to: the higher the f-stop number is, the smaller the opening. The smaller the f-stop is, the larger the opening.

This image from Wikipedia gives a look at f-stops. The size of the circle represents the size of the lens of the aperture. As you can see, the larger f-stop number, f/8, has a smaller aperture.

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It might take some practice remembering that but for now just remember that the larger the number, the smaller the opening.

So how does aperture effect a photo? The aperture controls the depth of field of a photo, which is the amount of the photo that is in sharp focus. Have you ever seen a photo where the background of the photo is slightly blurred but the subject in the foreground is in sharp focus? That’s a shallow depth of field. A large depth of field is when the the entire scene is in sharp focus.

Let’s look at some examples. In this photo, there is a small or narrow depth of field, as the players are in focus but the fans and the fans are out of focus.

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But in this photo, there is larger or wider depth of field. Even the players in the back are just as much in focus as the players closer to the camera.

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The difference of these two photos depend on the aperture. So how can you change the aperture and create these different photos?

First you want to find the aperture of your lens. All lenses have a maximum and minimum aperture size and you will find these sizes printed on your lens. Older lenses have an aperture ring that you need to turn to adjust the aperture. You will see the numbers on the lens and you will adjust the ring to match the aperture you would like to set.

However, most modern don’t have aperture rings and instead, you set the aperture in the camera. The aperture can be set in Manual or Aperture priority mode. Aperture is designated on your screen as the number with the F in front of it.

Once you have found the right mode and adjusted the aperture, you can experiment shooting in different f-stops to capture different depth of field. Remember, if you want a particular subject to be in sharp focus, you would use a smaller aperture number. This isolates the foreground from the background making the foreground objects look sharper and the background blurred.

But if you want a wide or large depth of field, where most of the photo is in focus, like in the second photo, you would use a larger aperture number. This allows the image be in sharp focus from front to back with no blur.

Aperture also works together with shutter speed and ISO to create exposure but we’ll talk about that in a future post. For now, we recommend experimenting with the different aperture sizes to see how it makes a difference in your photos.

Be sure to check back for more blogs about the different camera settings for great sports photography or sign up to receive our blogs by email!

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So You Got A Fancy New DSLR Camera… Now What?!

jeshoots-com-219059You have probably been thinking about getting a DSLR camera for a while now. Maybe you want to capture special moments in your family’s lives. Maybe you have always had a photographer’s eye and want to improve your skills. For whatever reason, you have made the investment in a beautiful new DSLR camera and now… you have no idea what to do with it. There are so many dials and functions and your owner’s manual seems like its written in a different language. Does this sound familiar?

Before you shove the manual in a box, set your camera to “Auto,” we have some tips for getting started with your new DSLR camera.

So if you just got your DSLR and are not completely sure what to do to start making the most of your investment, then you need to follow these steps!

  1. Get the right memory card for your camera

Most cameras do not come with built in storage so you will definitely want to save all of the incredible photos you take with your new camera! DSLRs can accept Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards. There are several versions of SD Cards: SD, SDHC and SDXC. SDHC stands for High Capacity, usually between 2 and 32 Gigabytes. The SDXC has an even higher storage capacity, up to 2 terabytes. CF cards are bigger in physical size and they use flash memory to record data. You can find CF cards with storage space from 2 GB to 128GB. You will want to check your manual to find the right memory card for your camera.

You will want to pay attention to the storage space of your memory card as well. Be sure to consider the amount of data a memory card can hold. DSLRs typically produce images that have larger file sizes than point and shoot cameras so you want to make sure your card can store your images. As you can see above, you have plenty of options when it comes to the size of your memory card. Determine how often you are going to use your camera and how much space you really need.

Finally you want to look at the speed and class of the memory card. Class ratings determine how fast data can be written to your card. Classes range from 2-10, with 10 being the fastest. A Class 10 card can write at least 10MB/second, while Class 4 card can write 4MB/second. The speed is important because the faster your can write data, the more photos you can take in a row. Sports photographers usually need faster speed memory card because of the fast pace of the action.

2. Understand the difference between RAW and JPEG photos

DSLRs can save images in two different formats: RAW and JPEG. JPEG photos are processed and compressed in the camera.  The processing means that the camera automatically adjusts for contrast, brightness, noise reduction and sharpness.These files are finished and can be printed immediately after the shot. and RAW photos are unprocessed or uncompressed and therefore not ready for print immediately. RAW photos will usually look flat and dark when they are taken. They need to be processed by software. RAW photos are usually bigger file sizes and take up more space but if you prefer to do editing in Lightroom or Photoshop, RAW is usually a better option for your photos. Whether you choose to use RAW or JPG files, it’s up to you. That all depends on how much editing you prefer to do. However, it is important to note that if you are using your camera for sports photography and shooting burst sequences, you will be able to shoot more photos with the JPEG format.

3. Practice with your manual setting.

The dials and settings can feel overwhelming in a DSLR but they will help you to shoot better photos. It can be really easy to just set your camera on automatic mode and start shooting but we can guarantee you will have a higher quality of photos and feel more experienced as a photographer if you take the time to learn about manual settings. You will want to understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO to help you shoot better photos (We wrote a blog post explaining your camera settings here!)

4. Read the manual (or at least skim it)

We know that the manual to your camera is not the most entertaining thing to read and it is much less fun than actually using your camera. However, the manual will explain the technical parts of your camera to you so you can understand its full capabilities.

5. Experiment without using the flash

We recommend not using the internal flash on your DSLR. They often take unflattering photos and don’t always achieve the look you were going for. If you are using your camera for sports photography, you absolutely should not use your flash as it’s distracting to athletes. Luckily camera manufacturers have been improving cameras so that you can take better photos in low light. You can experiment with increasing your ISO and shooting without the flash to learn how to capture sharp and well-exposed photos without the internal flash.

6. Shoot lots of different subjects and shoot often

You can learn a lot about photography and your own personal interests by experimenting with different types of photos. Maybe you purchased your camera to capture fantastic landscape photos for an upcoming vacation. You can improve your skills by experimenting with shooting events or action photos. Or if you purchased your camera to shoot your children’s athletics, you can experiment with shooting portraits. Shoot often and shoot a variety of subjects. This will help you get more comfortable with your camera!

Most importantly, have fun! You probably purchased a new DSLR camera because you enjoy photography and you want to improve your skills. You don’t need to feel like a pro overnight. Take time to just have fun using your camera and enjoying learning a new skill!

Are you in the DC area and interested in taking your photography skills to the next level? Learn about our interactive sports photography classes! 

How to Get Started Using DSLR Camera Settings

StockSnap_4CLVYHVZ2LIf you recently purchased a fancy new DSLR or you are thinking about making the investment, you might feel overwhelmed at all the options and settings on it. Too many amateur photographers invest in great cameras but stick with the automatic mode and never learn how to properly use their camera. The advanced settings and modes in your DSLR camera were designed to help you shoot even better photos. If you feel overwhelmed or don’t understand what all the buttons on your camera mean, this article will explain the basic camera settings in your DSLR.

  1. Aperture

Aperture can seem confusing at first but it’s an important concept to understand for photographers. If you look at your lens, there is a circular opening where light comes through. The aperture settings control the size of that opening. If you widen the aperture, the opening will get larger and more light will be allowed in. If you narrow the aperture, the opening will get smaller and the less light you let in. If you narrow the aperture, more of the photograph will appear to be in focus. If you widen the aperture, less of the photograph will be in focus.

The important thing to know about aperture is that it’s represented in numbers called f-stops and that if the number is lower, it is a wider aperture and lets in more light. If the number is higher, it’s a narrow aperture and lets in less light. For example, a small f-stop, such as f/2 lets in more light than f/8.

You want to think about the lighting and exposure in a photo, as well as, the focus of the photo when you are experimenting with aperture. If it’s an extremely sunny day, you will probably want to use a higher f-stop so that you don’t let in too much light and over-expose the image. But on a darker evening, you will want to let more light in and use a lower f-stop. Read our in-depth beginner’s guide to aperture here.

2. Shutter Speed

The shutter speed refers to the amount of time it takes for the aperture blades to close to take a photo. It is usually just a fraction of a second. Shutter speed and aperture go hand in hand to creating a well lit, properly exposed shot. When you set the aperture and push the shutter-release button, the shutter will open and close allowing light to strike the sensor for a certain length of time.

Generally, you want to use a faster shutter speed, especially if you are shooting action shots. A faster shutter speed can help you capture the very instant of action.

However, you may want to shoot with a slower shutter speed if you are feeling creative and you want an intentionally blurred or overexposed photo. For example if you wanted to blur the fans in the background of a track meet, you would use a slower shutter speed while panning along with the runner.

3. Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority ModesStockSnap_HBBR93DVH6

Now that you understand shutter speed and aperture, you can understand these two modes in your camera. Aperture Priority is designated as Av or A on your camera dial and Shutter Priority is designated as Tv or S. These separate modes are often referred to as “semi-automatic” shooting modes.

In Aperture priority mode, you as the photographer will chose the aperture value and the camera will automatically set the shutter speed. In Shutter Priority mode, you choose the shutter speed and the camera will automatically set the aperture.

When you want to experiment with depth of field or motion blurs or action photography, we recommend experimenting in these two modes. If you want to have everything in focus or practice with background blur, use Aperture Priority. If you are working on action photography, use Shutter Priority. They can help you learn and feel more comfortable with aperture and shutter speed while still allowing the camera to do some of the work.

4. ISO

ISO measures how sensitive the camera is to light. It essentially controls the amount of light required by the sensor to achieve a certain exposure or brightness in your photo. Low ISO settings require more light to achieve an exposure. Generally if there is a lot of light already, say you are shooting outside on a bright sunny day, you will only need a low ISO number. But if you shoot in darker conditions, such as inside or in the evening, you will need a higher ISO number.  The important thing to remember when using high ISO number is that the higher the ISO, the grainier or noisier the photo will be. Most DSLRs have an “auto-ISO function,” which is very useful for new photographers.

5. Focus

You want to make sure that the subject of your photo is in focus, no matter what settings you use. DSLRs come with auto-focus modes, making it easy for you to set your focus. Focus modes rely on focus points in your camera. When you look through your viewfinder, you will see a number of squares or dots across the screen. When you press your shutter halfway down, one of these squares will be highlighted in red. That means it is the active focus point of the shot.

This is an overview of your camera settings and it should help you get started feeling comfortable with your camera.

We always suggest that you keep practicing with your camera and experimenting with different modes and settings. The more you play with your camera, the more you will improve!

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Using Wide Angle Lenses in Sports Photography

Sports is normally shot with a long zoom to bring the action closer to the viewer, but what if you want to bring the viewer to the action?

A wide angle lens is perfect for this. Because of its short focal length, a wide angle lens requires the photographer to get up-close-and-personal with their subject, therefore bringing the viewer along with them. In the photo below, we caught our expert teacher, Rafael, shooting with his wide angle lens.

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Wide angle lenses will add depth to the photo. They help you keep everything with the frame in sharp focus and the view from a wide angle lens will make the viewers feel like they are part of the action. Can’t you feel the action in this photo? That’s because we were shooting with a wide angle lens!

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Wide angle lenses are about capturing close up moments and being a part of the action. To use a wide angle lens correctly, we recommend getting as close as possible to the action. You want to be sure you are focusing the camera on your subjects. Sometimes this means getting low and down where the action is! This will create depth and help your subjects stand out in the photo in a way that draws the viewer into the moment. An example is the photo below, you truly feel as if you are in the circle with the team.

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With more elite sports, you may not be able to get into the action to practice shooting with the wide angle lens. However, if you are shooting youth sports, there are plenty of opportunities to get near the action and practice shooting wide angle. Have a photo that you took with a wide angle lens? We’d love to see it! Tag us in it on our Instagram or Facebook @DCSportsPhotographyAcademy.

If you would like to invest in a wide angle zoom lens, you have many options. Here are some of the excellent wide angle zoom lenses for Canon and Nikon cameras!

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