Top Ways to Take Excellent Action Shots with Your Camera
Shooting action shots can be really fun and exciting but at the same time, annoying and frustrating especially if you keep getting out-of-focus images or using the wrong exposure. To take good action shots you need to have general, basic skills for action photography as well as knowledge of the event that you are shooting. Knowing and being able to identify the ultimate peak moments of action will result in excellent images.
Additionally, once you have decided on the right equipment for the shooting, you need to focus and adjust the camera settings. Continue reading to learn ways that will assist you in taking excellent action shots using your camera.
High shutter speed
When it comes to action photography, the most important thing is to correctly set the shutter speed. If you miss setting the shutter speed high enough, the resulting images will be blurry so when you’re shooting in manual mode, make sure the shutter speed is set faster than 1/200. When shooting outside where there is a lot of available light, Los Angeles Cinematographer, Adam Feuerman, sets the shutter speed to 1/1000 or higher for a sharper image.
Remember that you need to have light when you increase the shutter speed. Before the actual shooting begins, try to take a few test shots to see how the pictures are turning out, or keep checking the images as you go and switch to a higher shutter speed if necessary.
Know and prepare your equipment
You need to understand and take control of your camera in order to achieve the results you were aiming for. Most of the features you will require for action shooting can be found in consumer-level electronic SLRs, mirrorless cameras, and a bridge camera, which is a combination between SLRs and point-and-shoot cameras. You will need to:
- Set your camera’s focus point to the appropriate location
- Set the camera to shoot several frames per second
- Adjust the camera so that it focuses in a certain direction
- Enable focus tracking
For action photography, you want to invest in a lens that is as sharp and quick as possible. The standard lens that comes with the camera, isn’t quick or accurate enough for action photography. With a standard lens, other than the inexpensive glass, the aperture is normally too small to catch action scenes easily and accurately.
If you’re shooting a sport on a large field you want to purchase a fast zoom lens such as a 70-200mm f2.8. This kind of lens takes faster images and lets more light in. Its potential to let more light in also ensures that it can shoot action in low-light conditions with ease. Telephoto lenses are the right and correct option when shooting action or sports images since they allow to be visually close to the subjects without being present in the same area.
Use manual focusing
A mistake that is often made by beginners in action photography, is setting the camera to fully automatic mode. Since the focusing components in the lens rack move back and forth attempting to find an edge and advantage in low-light and low-contrast situations, certain cameras’ AF systems can be inaccurate. This is called “hunting” and is a standard feature in low-cost cameras. While the automatic mode is not totally useless and can be helpful in some cases, the ideal way for pictures to come out professionally done is to set the camera to manual mode.
You can try to use a method called “zone focusing”, as Los Angeles Cinematographer, Adam Feuerman does, which generally means focusing on where the action will take place. This technique drastically decreases the likelihood of hunting.
Set camera to burst mode
In action photography, when you’re shooting for certain sports, the subject is moving so fast that the moment is gone before you can click the shutter. Switching the camera to burst mode, ensure that you don’t miss a single moment of the action and can get 5 or 6 shots at once, increasing the chances of getting a decent picture.
However, remember that burst mode is dependent on the shutter speed to work. If your shutter speed is set to a low setting, it will be clicking at a slow pace as well. Whereas, with a high shutter speed, shooting in quick order won’t be an issue. Keep in mind to have enough space on your memory card since shooting in burst mode can fill it up quickly.