I take pictures of horses. A lot of times, the pictures turn out blurry (especially the legs of the horses.) I am trying to figure out what is going wrong, but I can't quite put my finger on it. If anyone could help me that would be great! Here are some examples:

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Thank you for your help!


2 Answers 2


What you are seeing is called motion blur. Simply stated, it is blur caused by motion during exposure. Horses obviously move and their legs will show even more motion. The solution to this is to use a faster shutter-speed.

You can control the shutter-speed in Shutter-Priority mode or in Manual mode. For the former you will get a metered exposure which will make this easy. Turn the Mode-Dial to S mode and use the control-dial to select the shutter-speed.

The faster the horse moves across the field-of-view, the faster the shutter-speed needs to be. I would start with 1/1000s. If there is still blur, raise the speed. If images come out too dark, lower it. Eventually though, if it is dark and you still get blur, there is no way out but to buy a brighter lens.

You can also go at it backwards, open the aperture to the maximum in Aperture priority mode and put the ISO at the maximum acceptable setting. This way, the camera will choose the faster speed to get a proper exposure. Some shots may still end up blurry when it is darker, but this would give you some good odds of usable results.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 on the 1/1000s initial target. I've gotten blurred horse's feet in the 1/250s-1/400s range. Fear not the iso 1600 and above settings. This is why you got the big camera. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! That was very helpful. What kind of lens would you recommend that is brighter? I would consider myself a beginner and I want to learn more about my options. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamanthaK.- The 18-55mm has a F/3.5-5.6 aperture, so when you zoom in, the maximum aperture is F/5.6 which is very dim. Instead a DX 17-55mm F/2.8G lets 4X more light in. There are even brighter lenses but they are mostly primes (no zoom) so you have to move yourself around to frame which may or not be possible in this type of event. If you more often use the wide end, then the Sigma A 18-35mm F/1.8 DC lets a further 2X more light in. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 1:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Your 18-55 lens has a maximum f-number of 3.5 at 18mm but only 5.6 at 55mm. f/5.6 requires 4 times as much light as f/2.8 for the same ISO and shutter speed., and 8 times as much light as f/2! So you need to consider a lens with a wider maximum aperture. Please see photo.stackexchange.com/questions/54258/…. If you find that you take most of your shots at around 50mm, a "nifty fifty" (AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G) would be a very affordable and good option. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 1:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ A shot that requires 1/250 second at f/5.6 could be shot at 1/1000 second at f/2.8 and the same ISO value. Or a shot that requires 1/125 second at f/5.6 could be taken at 1/1000 second at f/2 with the same ISO value. Of course wider aperture also means shallower depth of field and may require you to improve your focusing skills,whether manually focusing or using AF to focus on the part of the frame you want the camera to bring into focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 2:10

Increase your shutter value along with ISO so the captured image gets unblurred make f-stop lower value to get the back bokeh. Zoom as far as you can to get good bokeh background.


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