Photographer Andrew Hall explains how to become a pro at motorsport photography. [Article courtesy of Fujifilm.]

Motorsport photography is one of the most thrilling yet challenging activities. Even the most seasoned photographers need to put in a lot of thought when it comes to taking the perfect shot. If you are just starting out in this field, below are my top tips for taking that killer shot on the race track.

Taken on Fujifilm X-H2S + XF200mm f/2.0 R LM OIS WR. 1/1250 sec @ f/4.0 ISO 100.

1. Shutter speed is key

Motorsport photography is all about using high shutter speed to freeze the moment. Race cars can reach over 300 kilometres per hour at top speed on the track, so a standard range would be anywhere from 1/1000th to 1/4000th seconds to get a clear shot of the dashing vehicle.

The angle of the shot determines the shutter speed required. A front-on shot needs a high shutter speed (1/1000th to 1/4000th) to capture a wheel lift or jump (as shown above). If you want to convey the sense of speed, then a pan shot is perfect. A pan shot is usually a side-on angle when you follow the car and use a slower shutter speed to blur the background. A shutter speed between 1/125th and 1/30th creates the perfect background blur. You can experiment with different shutter speeds to capture the image you desire. A lot of the races I photograph run into the night, so that’s the perfect time to test out slower shutter speeds.

2. Shot composition

There is no golden rule around how you compose an image in motorsport, although there are a few common aesthetics. One of them is including the race track in the background to give perspective to the vehicle. The sky also lends itself to good motorsport photography, especially when there’s a beautiful sunset happening.

Taken on Fujifilm X-T4 + XF33mm f/1.4 R LM WR. 1/125th @ f/7.1 ISO400.

3. Best places for motorsport photography

The Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst NSW is one of the most iconic race tracks in Australia. Overseas, it has to be Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France for me. These tracks present amazing opportunities for motorsport photographers, both amateurs and professionals.

For those who cannot easily get access to a racecourse all the time, you can check out your local club, attend a track day, or even visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge to capture images on the moves. Anywhere with a bit of motion would be a good place to utilise your camera.

4. Get your gear organised

You certainly don’t want the image quality to be compromised when shooting (and moving) at high speed, so it’s important to pick a camera that is up to task. You would want something that comes with some type of stabilisation technology, as it can help to cancel out extraneous movements when you are holding the camera. This is especially useful when you are shooting at a slower shutter speed, or going for a pan shot (like the one below).

Taken on Fujifilm X-H2S  + XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. 1/30th @f/14 ISO80.

I’ve most recently taken up the Fujifilm X-H2S. Designed for high-speed photography, it features a 7-stop In-Body Image Stabilisation and provides continuous shooting at up to 40 frames per second with no blackout. For beginners, I would recommend starting out with the Fujifilm X-T30 II, which is capable of producing great results without breaking the bank. Also remember to bring a few spare batteries.

5. Pick your lens

Zoom lenses are usually ideal for shooting motorsport because they allow you to zoom in close on race tracks and be flexible with the composition of your image without sacrificing detail. A zoom lens like the Fujifilm XF70-300mm f/4-5.6 is a great option and is one of my go-to lenses, as it features Optical Image Stabilisation to minimise camera shake. It is also weather-sealed, so perfect if you happen to venture out on a rainy day.

Taken on Fujifilm X-T4 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR. 1/125th @ f/4.0 ISO1000.

It takes time to hone your skills and build your own style in motorsport photography. It may take many races, sunsets and evenings, and a hundred blurry shots until you produce one that is successful. But when it happens, you will find everything worth it. So, don’t be afraid to hit the tracks and leap at every chance to capture a good shot.

Learn more about Andrew’s Fujifilm cameras and lenses.