Xpert Advice: Capturing Fast Moving Subjects With Your Camera

Fast moving subjects can be incredibly tough to capture no matter what camera system you use. One of the best things that any photographer can have is foresight into knowing and predicting what’s about to happen in front of you–and that requires paying a lot of attention to the scene.

But capturing fast moving subjects can be done in a variety of different ways and can use a large number of creative image techniques to get the scene. First and foremost, lots of photographers will obviously use a variety of autofocus techniques. Luckily, Fujifilm’s autofocus on the new X-Pro 2 and X-T2 are super fast–even in the dark and with older lenses with firmware updates. A great idea is to use the center focusing point/group area, focus as quickly as you can on your subject, and immediately take the photo. Just ensure that the point/area covers the subject entirely and for the best results, you may want to use continuous autofocus.

The above method works very well with a stopped down lens, but if you want a hint of the background in your scene, then you’re going to want to shoot with a wider lens and get up close. At any given focusing distance you’ll get more of an area in focus vs a telephoto lens. This means that you don’t need to stop the lens down as much so you can get some beautiful bokeh. Keep that in mind for the next time you want to shoot a wedding or street photography!

With all this said, the bokeh in a scene can also make the background less distracting overall in the final image. Another way to do this is to compose the scene according to the colors.

Consider the following: portrait photographers often use a stagnant background for a reason–it keeps the emphasis on the subject in the photo. So when you have some sort of contrasting color to the subject, it will be able to put more emphasis on your fast moving subject. Combine this with bokeh and AF speed and you can sometimes do a technique called dragging the shutter.

Ever looked at photos of athletes playing a sport with the background out of focus in straight lines but with the subject sharp in focus? That’s what dragging the shutter is. To do this method, you’ll just need to focus on your subject and pan with them. Technically speaking, stop the lens down a bit and slow down your shutter speed. What you’ll experience are more interesting photos overall that tend to stand out from the rest out there.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.