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Motorsport Photography Tips

Motorsport Photography Tips - Here are some top tips and ideas for motorsport photography.

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Sports and Action


If you're heading out to watch a car or bike race one day with your Tamron kit than have a read of this. A zoom lens is ideal for motorsport photography with its ability to zoom in close to the action and get some stunning shots as the racers fly past. It also means you don't need a large bag to carry all of your gear in or worry about not having the right lens attached when all the action is flying by. With this in mind, here are some top tips for motorsport photography with a zoom lens:

Focal length - As you often can't get close to the track pack a zoom with a longer reach. That way you'll be able to create frame filling shots of the track and have a play around with shorter focal lengths when capturing things happening away from the circuit. 

Pan - Mastering the art of panning will be a great help when it comes to photographing fast moving objects. The aim with panning is to move the camera along with the car or bike, keeping the vehicle in focus, but adding blur the background, creating the impression of speed.

Shutter speed - Your shutter speed will vary depending on the amount of blur your want in the shot. A slower shutter speed combined with the pan will create the blur in backgrounds that emphasis the sense of speed. Quicker shutter speeds can work but if you set the shutter speed too high your shot will look static. 

Hide fences - Mesh fencing may keep spectators safe but it can be a pain for photographers. However, by packing a fast zoom, such as the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Sp Di with its minimal depth of field, you'll be able to make a fence disappear.  

Position your car/bike - The position of your vehicle can make a considerable impact on the picture. Ideally, the vehicle needs to be in the left to middle area of your shot, to give it some space to move into. If the car is too far to the right, it can put the viewer at unease as they can't see where it's going. Sometimes, a wonky horizon can work in your favour in motorsport photography as this can help emphasis speed, so have a play around and see what works best for what you're trying to achieve.

People in the shot - Sometimes, it's inevitable that people might get in the way of a good shot. It's OK for some crowd and candid photography, but when your main focus is the car, you'll want some people-free shots. If you're in the stands, try moving up above the heads of the people. The zoom on your Tamron lens should help you to still get some pretty close shots of cars on tracks.

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