Photography Cheat Sheet: Tips for Photographing Moving Subjects

Having a hard time keeping moving objects in focus in your shots? Today’s photography cheat sheet should help!

One of the most challenging and sometimes frustrating parts of photography is capturing moving subjects in sharp focus. It helps to master your shutter speed, but there are also some tricks you can employ to use motion to your advantage. Whether it’s a speeding vehicle, playing kids, pets moving around, or other subjects in motion, today’s photography cheat sheet should be able to help.

If you’ve yet to perfect capturing motion, the photography cheat sheet below, put together by Snap Paper, has a bunch of tips showing some of the tried and tested ways to do it. These include more creative techniques like photographing moving water and panning with your camera.

One of the first things you should do with your camera is set it in shutter priority mode. This will allow your camera to set the aperture based on the ISO and shutter speed you selected. Next, set the focus mode to dynamic instead of single shot, so your camera will keep focusing as long as you keep the shutter half-pressed.

If you want to capture fast-moving objects like cars in sharp focus, start with a shutter speed of 1/250th sec. For race cars, you have to go faster at 1/1300th sec. If it’s moving people you want to photograph, you can go as fast as 1/250th sec to freeze the motion of running people, or 1/125th for walking subjects.

Photographing motion doesn’t only involve freezing movement; another trick is to use motion blur to emphasize activity and suggest dynamic scenes. For example, you can go for slower shutter speeds to blur the movement. For people, shoot at 1/30th sec for running subjects and 1/60th sec for walking subjects. For moving vehicles, you can go with either 1/125th sec or 1/250th sec, depending on how fast the car is moving. You can even blur the movement of bodies of water with a shutter speed of 1/8th sec or slower, depending on the results you want.

One last trick to master when photographing moving objects is camera panning. This technique is a powerful way to demonstrate movement, and produces a sharply focused subject against a blurred background. To do this, set your shutter speed to at least 1/60th sec and follow the moving subject with your camera, keeping it in the frame. Increase your shutter speed as necessary.

Don’t forget to browse through our collection of photography cheat sheets for more photography tips and tricks like this!