As many of you know, my oldest son received his black belt in Jujitsu this January. I wanted to capture a few photographs of the testing process to share with family and friends, so I brought my camera along. Here are a few tips for shooting in similar conditions.
1. Capturing photos of people doing sports requires a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. That’s easy enough on a bright sunny day – but indoors, it can be difficult to get a really fast shutter speed. I used my Canon 5D MIII, which handles noise very well, and bumped up my ISO to 5000. With an aperture of f/4.5, I could use a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second. That was enough to capture the quick martial arts moves. I cleaned up the noise a bit with the luminosity slider in Photoshop.
2. I used AI Servo mode to ensure that my focus was spot on even as my son moved around. AI Servo is Canon’s predictive autofocusing system. I hold the shutter release halfway down, and follow my son’s face with the active focusing point through my viewfinder. The focus adjusts automatically to his movements. It’s not always perfect, but it works very well for something like this.
3. My Canon 5D MkIII allows me to shoot 6 frames per second max. I often use the high speed continuous shooting mode when I’m photographing the kids playing sports. For action shots, I often take three or four shots in quick succession. Then, I choose the best of the set, and delete the others. I use this mode when I know it will be difficult to release the shutter at just the right moment. I don’t recommend shooting constantly. Instead, choose your moment carefully, and take just a few shots. That way, you don’t fill up your memory cards with junk shots, and your camera doesn’t get hung up trying to process a series of images. Use high speed continuous shooting mode sparingly.
Congratulation to Nick. We are incredibly proud of him and his accomplishments.
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