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Calicajun Feb 5, 2013 7:29 AM

Action Portraits With Blur
I'm wanting to take some for lack of better term action portraits shots of my son's karate class. The freeze action shots are no problem, turn the room lights down and use the studio strobes to light the subjects. I would also like to take some shots with some blurring in the action shot. So is there a ratio as to how much room light vs strobe light to set up for as a starting point? Also, would it be better to use 2nd curtain shutter to obtain some blur in the picture?


JohnG Feb 5, 2013 10:42 AM

You want 2nd curtain because you want the ghosting to trail and not lead. 2 stops is right around where you see ghosting - i.e. if the camera exposure is within 2 stops of "proper" you'll start to see the ghosting. Lower than that and ghosting disappears. Just be aware - the "ghosting" you see with flash looks different than normal motion blur.

Calicajun Feb 5, 2013 12:25 PM

Thanks for the tips, having a starting point just makes things easier for me. I'm not trying to go crazy with the motion blur, just a little blur at the foot or hand when it's being moved. Came up with the idea this weekend shooting my son's karate meet. I notice that there was some motion blur do to slow shutter speed (yes, I forgot to switch to Tv from Av:o) but the body and face were nice and sharp. Seem if they are doing the forms right the body stays stills and only the hand/arm or feet/legs move. So it just seemed like a cool idea to do some staged portraits and get a little motion blur in the shot.

If this works I'll post a couple in a few weeks, if not well.:o:D

Thanks again,

JohnG Feb 5, 2013 12:38 PM

Craig - a couple points come to mind:
1) If you're not using flash/strobes shoot manual exposure - don't use AV or TV. The reason being you want faces exposed properly - you don't want the gi or something in the background influencing the metering. Set the values to expose the face properly.

2) If you are using flash or strobes - STILL use manual exposure.

3) Here's the type of thing you'll see.
Shot 1: exposure > 2 stops below ambient levels so ghosting is extremely minimal

shot 2: Exposure closer to ambient levels so you see ghosting in the football and arm.

Calicajun Feb 5, 2013 2:21 PM

Hi John,
Good tips again but in this situation manual won't work. Three different arenas going at once and of course the lighting in each area is different and I'm not fast enough to change the camera settings on the fly.

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