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How To Take Action Photos

How To Take Action Photos

Things moving at speed are difficult to photograph properly. This film explains some of the main problems associated with action shots. Learn how to take the most effective action shots possible with VideoJug's advice.

Step 1: Understand your camera's shutter lag

Almost all digital cameras have shutter lag. Basically, it's the difference between when you press the button and when the camera decides it's ready to snap your photo.

It's the sort of thing that can really screw up an action shot; by the time your camera gets around to actually doing what you told it to do, the moment is probably past and forgotten about.

The trick here is to compensate for it. Shoot early. Get to know your camera and how long it it'll take to work. Love your camera and all its foibles. Give it a name, like Charlene.

If that fails, buy a better camera with less lag.

Step 2: Know your Limits

If your camera has a fast shutter speed, you can successfully shoot things that are moving very, very fast, like a gazelle with a firework up its bum, for example.

Good shutter speeds are about 1/8000 of a second, while the lower end is closer to 1/600th.

All is not lost, however: if you've got a low shutter speed, simply pan the camera along with your target and snap. This'll bag you a decent mid-action shot.

Step 3: Write Times

Your camera has a specific write time; that's the time it takes to store the photo to memory when the shutter button's pressed. The longer that time, the harder it'll be to take decent action photos.

The only way around that, of course, is to buy a camera with ‘continuous shots' supported.

Step 4: Hedge your Bets

Simple one, this. Don't just take one photo. Take a succession of photos. One of them is bound to turn out nice, and you can always ditch the rest.

Action shots come with practice. The first few will look like a garbled mess, but it's worth sticking with it, because a good action pic is one of the most impressive things to get in photography.