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A Beginner’s Guide to Motorsport Photography


On this video, Mike Harris from Wex Photographic talks to motorsport photographer Amanda Leeming to try and get some useful tips for photographers who are making their first steps in motorsport photography.

Motorsport is a pretty complex subject matter to shot – cars and bikes can go by in hundreds of miles per hour, there is always a danger of being too close (and so in many cases shooters are just not allowed anywhere near the course making shooting even more difficult and more.

One of the first tips for shooting motorsports is finding a good shooting location – sometimes the smaller events are easier to find ideal locations – typically near a curve – big events tend to draw more people and more shooters making it harder to find a good spot and in some cases you will find yourself in a more distant position as well.

The second point is choosing the right settings. Panning is a very common technique for shooting motorsports where the photographer moves his camera in the direction of the vehicle trying to match the speed of the vehicle with his camera. Shutter speed is extremely important here. After you master the actual tracking movement (monopod can be useful here) you need to work on reducing the shutter speed to a level that will show blur.

A speed of 1/300 second is a good place to start but you will want to try to get lower to about 1/125 or even lower to get that background blur going on. Don’t get discouraged if at first results are not what you hoped they will be – panning requires tons of practice, but it certainly something that you can learn with time.

At the end of the day – practice, practice and practice some more – this is the real take away and even professional shooters after decades of work might only be really pleased in about 10 images out of a few hundred so don’t get disparaged if your first few attempts will not yield much – as long as you are ready to try again.

You can check out many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid.

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