Freeze movement with flash
Light up subjects with a Speedlight to capture fast-moving action
01 Pick your spot
Look for an interesting feature in the terrain and think about how your subject will move through that area. Rocks work well in photos as they catch the light, highlighting the ground. Corners are good locations to shoot from as the rider will be in more interesting positions.
03 Take remote control
If you have remote triggers, attach them to your Nikon’s hotshoe and your flash, matching up their channels if needed. Otherwise, switch your flash to Remote and on your Nikon go to Custom Shooting Menu>Bracketing/ Flash>Flash Cntrl for built-in flash>Commander Mode.
05 Focus first
Ask your rider to stand where you’re going to shoot to check the exposure. Focus on them and lock your lens into manual focus to avoid the AF searching as they ride past. With faster-paced shooting, pre-focus before they go past by half-pressing the shutter release.
02 Position the flash
Once you’ve estimated where the bike will be, work out where you’d like to light it from. We chose the left of the frame. If you’re using your flashgun’s Slave mode, make sure that it is within range of the camera and face the sensor towards the camera’s flash.
04 Expose for the background
Keep your shutter speed above 1/160 sec. Use a narrowish aperture (we shot at f/9) to get a fairly deep field of focus and increase your chances of getting the bike sharp. Adjust the ISO to set your exposure for the background without the flash – don’t worry about it being under-exposed.
06 Get down low
Typically the best angles for sport are from low down. Looking up from ground level will create a more dramatic composition. When shooting steep areas, the trick is to be level with the rider, as looking up or down will cause the slope to appear flat. Now you’re ready to shoot!