You are at a sporting event and have taken several hundred photos.  Now, you know not all of them are going to be keepers but, you expect to see some amazing shots.  Because, after all, you are an amazing sports photographer.

You import your photos into your favorite photo editing program and are excited to see your images.  Then, you notice, most of them are blurry!  Grrrr! It must be your camera that took the blurry ones, right?

Maybe it’s you.

Here are my four tips to help you prevent those nasty blurry photos.


  1. Make sure you have not accidentally move your camera or lens from Auto Focus to Manual Focus.  This can easily happen when putting your camera into your camera bag or when you are removing it.  It’s always good to make it a habit to check this before every event you shoot.  It has happened to me on more than one occasion.  I also will check this throughout a game just to be safe.  This is also one of those times when Chimping is ok.
  2. Speaking of focus.  If your photos are blurry, you may want to check your camera’s autofocus (AF) points.  AF points are designed to allow you to know where your camera is focusing and let you change the focus points.  For instance:  when shooting basketball I will set my focus point to the left or right of center instead of smack dab in the middle.  This allows me to not miss focus and prevents blurry photos more often than not.  Some cameras have 9, 11, 5, and even 425 focus points. Check your camera’s manual to know how many and how best to use AF points.
  3. Your subject being in motion is another cause of blurry images.  Duh, you are a sports photographer – of course your subject is in motion.  What is needed when your subject is in motion is to have the proper shutter speed.  If your shutter speed is too slow for your subject, let’s say a shutter speed of 60 frames per second (fps) and you are shooting a baseball pitcher pitching the ball, the pitcher will be blurry.  By raising the shutter speed up to around 500fps or above, the subject is more likely to be tack sharp.
  4. Shake, shake, shake.  No, I am not talking about dancing.  I am talking about camera shake.  And if you shake your booty while taking a photo, you will increase the chance of blur.  Proper camera holding techniques is crucial to prevent blur.  Another thing I have noticed, especially dealing with beginner sports photographers, is that when they press the shutter button, the camera moves down.  Again, proper techniques will help alleviate this problem.  Also, I have seen photographers who don’t allow their camera enough time to take the photo before moving to their next subject to shoot.

Ok, there are four tips to help you when you see that your photos are blurry.  All of these are easily correctable.

Now, get out and shoot.

Hey, if you are still struggling with getting the proper exposure, check out this article.

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