How to Take Better Action Photos

Posted on 20 July 2019

Take better action photos like this one by reading this blog!
Do you want to take better action photos but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! It’s easier than you might think once you get the hang of it, and it’s oh-so rewarding when you distill all of the action in a single photo. 

Whatever movement you’re looking to capture, from sporting events to live performances, there are a few things you can do to help ensure you snag the best possible shot. 

Know Your Camera

Understanding your camera and its functions is a key element to capturing great action shots. Regardless of what camera you are using, it will have the ability to get the shot you want if you can control things such as:

– Focus

– Continuous focus tracking

– Setting the focus to the right spot

– Setting your camera to take multiple frames per second

– Shutter speed and aperture

Understand the Action

No matter what you are trying to capture—a bird in flight, your child’s dance recital, or a white-water rafting adventure—being able to anticipate when and where the action will take place will help you capture the perfect moment. Having an understanding of the action and being familiar with your surroundings will help you be in the right place at the right time. 

For example, if you were trying to take the photo above, watching a few people go down the river before shooting would help you gauge where you should be. You might notice that every time a raft hits a certain spot, things get interesting…This level of familiarity makes it easy to anticipate when and where your best shots lie. Remember: luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. 

Make What’s Important Stand Out by Controlling the Background 

Controlling the shutter speed allows you to control the level of blur in the background. Using your aperture priority, you will decrease the speed by lowering the f-stop. That gives you more blur. 

In the picture below, a focused background adds to the excitement of the photograph because you can clearly see the spectators also enjoying the action.

Why Blur the Background?

You may want to separate the subject from the background, making the subject the main focus of the shot. In some situations, the background may distract the viewer. So, blurring the background with a panning motion will make your subject stand out. 

Use Continuous Focus

When you understand your equipment, you know your camera’s lag time. That is the time it takes from when you push the button to when the picture is taken. So, you can calculate precisely when you need to shoot. 

If you start focusing on your subject before they are in the right spot and continue tracking them after the shot, you may catch unexpected action. Using continuous focus will keep you ready to shoot as soon as the action happens.

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