Printpix Photography Series – Action Shots

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As we continue our printpix Photography Series, taking photos of moving objects, whether it’s kids, sporting events or wildlife, requires skill and a little bit of luck. Here are a few points to consider regarding action photography. 

Printpix Photography Series – Action Shots

Location, Location, Location

With action photography, whether it’s children at play or sport, you need to fill the frame of the shot. There are two effective ways of doing this:

  • Physically move yourself closer to the action — don’t get in the way! — and use whatever zoom lens capability you have to get close, clear shots.
  • If you have a DSLR camera, think about investing in a longer lens. Consider how far away the action will be; a 200mm lens may not be enough to capture players at the other end of a football field.

Composing action shots means learning the basic rules of composition, plus lots of practice; the more you practice your art, the more natural it becomes.


Timing Is Everything

  • If you’re shooting a sport, familiarise yourself with it by studying it live and on TV, learn the rules and time periods. Especially look at photos of the sport in magazines to understand the elements that make a spectacular image and copy what the professional photographers do.
  • Work out how long it takes from pressing the button to actually taking the photograph. You may need to pre-empt the action if your camera takes time, as many digital compact cameras tend to.


Always Be Ready

Live action is quite unpredictable at times, so you need a camera that’s fast and takes the photo as soon as you press the shutter.

  • Try following your subject in the viewfinder and pre-focus as it moves, and when the moment is right, snap the shot.
  • Use your zoom lens or move closer to the action so you can fill the frame; a small dot in the middle of a green field doesn’t make a captivating photo.
  • Get down low and shoot from the subject’s level to increase the impact.


Watch The Light

Lighting conditions can vary and with outdoor sports you have to deal with what nature throws at you. When shooting in the middle of the day don’t be afraid to use your camera’s built-in flash, especially if you’re close to the action. Wherever possible, try and get the sun behind you.


Learn How To “Pan”

“Panning” is when you stand still, but follow the action with your camera. It’s a technique often used in sports and motorsport photography, and creates lots of movement and excitement in your shot.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the printpix Photography Series:


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