5 High-speed Photography Tips


Know Your Subject

Imagine you're going to photograph a baseball player just after he's hit the ball and starts running. Would you aim the camera at third base? How about the outfield? If you know baseball, you'd aim at first base or along the first base line where the player will be running.

That brings us to the most important tip for capturing high-speed photography: Know your subject. For example, if you want to be a sports photographer, you should know the sport you're shooting, as in the baseball example above. Photographer Chris Williams, says, "Great sports photographers know the sport so well, they can be 'pre-focused' and ready before the action happens."

Subjects outside of sports may be less predictable, but you can look for patterns. For example, children playing on a playground may seem chaotic at first glance. However, if the children are playing on a slide, for example, you can guess their pattern: climbing the steps, sliding down and running around the slide to climb up again. A game of tag will present more of a challenge, but you can still pick a spot where most of the kids seem to like running.

If you know what to expect, you can also pan with the subject as it moves. This will freeze the subject, though it will probably blur anything in the background or foreground that isn't moving at the same pace. For instance, if you're photographing a car driving past on a busy street, you know it will trace the path of the road ahead of it. If you pan the camera with the car for the shot, the landscape and other vehicles will be blurred while the car appears frozen in time.

These tips should help you in your high-speed photography adventures. The rest is up to you. Get to know your subject, practice with your equipment, and then get out there and take great photos! Check out even more great high-speed photography information below.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Ang, Tom. "Fundamentals of Photography: The Essential Handbook for Both Digitial and Film Cameras." Alfred A. Knopf. 2008. pp. 78-79.
  • Ang, Tom. "How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera." Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2007. pp. 58-59
  • Bryan, Wright. "VIDEO: 'World's Slowest Fastest Camera' Captures The Movement Of Light." NPR. Dec. 13, 2011. (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/13/143666285/video-worlds-slowest-fastest-camera-captures-the-movement-of-light
  • Leuchter, Miriam. "Take Your Best Shot: Essential Tips & Tricks for Shooting Amazing Photos." Welden Owen, Inc. 2011.
  • Linstead, Scott. "How To: DIY Tripwire Photography." PopPhoto.com. Bonnier Corp. Mar. 13, 2009. (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.popphoto.com/how-to/2009/03/how-to-diy-tripwire-photography
  • Meredith, Kevin. "Hot Shots: Tips and Tricks for Taking Better Pictures." RotoVision SA. 2008. pp. 186-188.
  • Rowse, Darren. "Aperture and Shutter Priority Modes." Digital Photography School. 2010. (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.digital-photography-school.com/aperture-and-shutter-priority-modes
  • Rowse, Darren. "Introduction to Aperture in Digital Photography." Digital Photography School. 2010. (Feb. 2, 2012) http://www.digital-photography-school.com/aperture
  • Wignall, Jeff. "Focus on Digital Photography Basics." Lark Books. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. 2010. p. 60
  • Williams, Chris R., Photographer. Interview on Feb. 1, 2012.


Pro Tips on Posing for Perfect Pics

Pro Tips on Posing for Perfect Pics

Forget those awkward family photos! HowStuffWorks talked to two photography experts on how to look your best in every photo, every time.