Ace it with flash!

Claire Gillo serves up her guide to freez­ing ac­tion with mo­tion blur

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Freeze ac­tion and cap­ture mo­tion blur in a sin­gle shot – just set up your off-cam­era flash for rear cur­tain sync

Freez­ing ac­tion and cap­tur­ing mo­tion blur at the same time may sound like a con­tra­dic­tion but it is pos­si­ble if you use an ex­ter­nal flash. The shut­ter speed en­ables you to cap­ture the mo­tion blur, and the flash freezes the ac­tion.

For this tu­to­rial, as well as a flash­gun you’ll need a wide-an­gle lens. You’ll also need a model who is happy to serve ball af­ter ball. We had ten­nis coach Martin Wright as ours, and he was per­fect as he was able to serve end­lessly on cue. The trick with this shoot is to tell your player where you want them to hit the ball. Place mark­ers on the ground so they know the spot to aim for.

The weather con­di­tions mat­ter. Avoid shoot­ing on a windy day as it’s harder for your model to con­trol the ball. Clouds in the back­ground – fluffy, white ones or dark, stormy ones – cre­ate a more in­ter­est­ing re­sult. We po­si­tioned Martin in front of the sun, which meant his face and body were in shadow. We then lit him from the side with our flash­gun to cre­ate in­tense shad­ows. When pho­tograph­ing sports, shad­ows help ex­ag­ger­ate the mus­cles and form of the body.

So get ready to game, set and match your flash pho­tog­ra­phy skills!

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