Action Photography

Published by WPC Official on Jun'19,2019

2 | 594


Action Photography

WPC Official
2 | 594 | Jun 19, 2019

Action Photography or Action Shot by its very definition involves a lot of movement, often unpredictable. Become familiar with various camera settings and techniques needed to capture a subject. When photographing people, remember that you should always capture the emotion as well as motion.

Credits: Tim Tadder

It is a method of capturing an object in action and displaying it in a single image with multiple sequential appearances of the object.

Additional names: Action Synopsis, Motion Synopsis, Panoramic Video Synopsis, Dynamic Still, Synopsis Mosaic, Stromotion.

Action Photography is mostly associated with Sports but, it also plays a great part in movies and real life.

Tips for Action Photography

1.      Timing – Timing is a key element in great action photography. If you shoot at the right moment, you'll get a better picture. The secrets to good timing are knowledge of the subject you're photographing, practice, and good luck. If you know the sport and the techniques, you'll find that luck will come your way a lot more frequently.

2.     Point of View – The first step in getting a great action photo is finding a good place for your camera. Where you put your camera is where you put the viewer of your photos, and if you bring the viewer into the action, your photos will be more successful. A good camera position is one that gives you a clear view of the action, keeps you out of harm's way, provides a pleasant backdrop for the photos, and works with the lighting at the scene. You can try looking for a good spot by reaching the venue beforehand and take a little walk at places that you think will be a good viewer’s point and that way you’ll know where to shoot from during the event.

3.     Shooting Techniques - There are two basic ways to deal with an action subject: freeze its motion by shooting at a fast shutter speed, or blur it by shooting at a slower shutter speed. As a very general rule, shutter speeds of 1/1000 or faster will freeze most sports action, and shutter speeds of 1/15 or slower will blur it. Shutter speeds in-between (which include the whole range of many point-and-shoot cameras) might or might not freeze action subjects—it depends on the subject and what it's doing.

4.     Focusing on Action Subjects – If you can't pre-focus on the subject, you'll have to follow-focus on it as it moves. Birds in flight make great practice subjects—if you can track and focus on them, you can handle most moving subjects. Autofocusing can make action shooting easier. But you have to keep the subject in the AF target area in the viewfinder, or the camera won't autofocus on it. Practice on kids or maybe stray animals and you'll develop a knack for focusing on moving subjects, and accurately track them with the camera.

5.     Practice makes Perfect – When you first start practicing the techniques like,—Panning the camera, Shooting at the peak of the action, Focusing and the like—don't put the film in the camera. That way you won't waste a lot of films while you get the hang of doing these things and begin to develop a sense of timing (which is the key to any good action picture). Practice focusing (both in AF mode and manually, if your camera permits it) and following the action with the camera. Practice tracking a child or pet around, trying to snap the shutter at just the right moment. Practice panning the camera by tracking cars driving by on a busy street (not from the middle of the street!). When you start to feel comfortable doing these things, put some film in the camera and start taking pictures of these same subjects. When you see your pictures, you'll be able to check on your progress and see which techniques you've got down pretty well and which ones still need some work.

6.      Equipment (camera, lenses, flash, film) – All you really need to photograph action is a camera, a lens, and some film (or a memory card, if you like a digital). To photograph action like a pro, you need an SLR camera and a long lens. If you're going to shoot indoors or at night, you should also have a powerful external flash unit.

7.      Accessories – A tripod is always a good idea when it's possible to use one because it can hold the camera steadier than we can. A monopod is a great alternative to a tripod. In effect a tripod leg with a mount for the camera at the top, it's not as steady as a tripod, but it's steadier than hand-holding the camera and long lens and is sometimes permitted where tripods are not. You probably have a lot of gear—a camera body, several lenses, a flash unit, lots of films, etc. So it's nice to have a convenient means of carrying it and keeping it all together as you shoot. A rugged soft camera bag is probably the best choice for this. A hard case provides more impact protection, but is bulkier, and might not be permitted on sidelines. A photo vest holds lots of stuff and keeps your arms free, and is a great idea unless you have some lenses that are too big and heavy to carry that way.

Famous Action Photographers

1.    Morgan Maassen (United States)

Credits: Morgan Maassen

2.    Chris Burkard (United States)

Credits: Chris Burkard

3.    Ben Thourad (France)

Credits: Ben Thourad

4.    Eugene Tan ( Australia)

Credits: Eugene Tan

5.    Tim McKenna (Australia)

Credits: Tim McKenna

6.    Sarah Lee (United States)

Credits: Sarah Lee

7.    Jimmy Chin (United States)

Credits: Jimmy Chin

8.    Thomas Morel (Norway)

Credits: Thomas Morel

9.    Zak Noyle (United States)

Credits: Zak Noyle

10.   Tristan Shu (France)

Credits: Tristan Shu

For more information on Photos & Photography, visit www.worldphotographersclub.com

Happy Shooting!


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Action Photography or Action Shot by its very definition involves a lot of movement, often unpredictable. Become familiar with various camera settings and techniques needed to capture a subject. When photographing people, remember that you should always capture the emotion as well as motion.

Credits: Tim Tadder

It is a method of capturing an object in action and displaying it in a single image with multiple sequential appearances of the object.

Additional names: Action Synopsis, Motion Synopsis, Panoramic Video Synopsis, Dynamic Still, Synopsis Mosaic, Stromotion.

Action Photography is mostly associated with Sports but, it also plays a great part in movies and real life.

Tips for Action Photography

1.      Timing – Timing is a key element in great action photography. If you shoot at the right moment, you'll get a better picture. The secrets to good timing are knowledge of the subject you're photographing, practice, and good luck. If you know the sport and the techniques, you'll find that luck will come your way a lot more frequently.

2.     Point of View – The first step in getting a great action photo is finding a good place for your camera. Where you put your camera is where you put the viewer of your photos, and if you bring the viewer into the action, your photos will be more successful. A good camera position is one that gives you a clear view of the action, keeps you out of harm's way, provides a pleasant backdrop for the photos, and works with the lighting at the scene. You can try looking for a good spot by reaching the venue beforehand and take a little walk at places that you think will be a good viewer’s point and that way you’ll know where to shoot from during the event.

3.     Shooting Techniques - There are two basic ways to deal with an action subject: freeze its motion by shooting at a fast shutter speed, or blur it by shooting at a slower shutter speed. As a very general rule, shutter speeds of 1/1000 or faster will freeze most sports action, and shutter speeds of 1/15 or slower will blur it. Shutter speeds in-between (which include the whole range of many point-and-shoot cameras) might or might not freeze action subjects—it depends on the subject and what it's doing.

4.     Focusing on Action Subjects – If you can't pre-focus on the subject, you'll have to follow-focus on it as it moves. Birds in flight make great practice subjects—if you can track and focus on them, you can handle most moving subjects. Autofocusing can make action shooting easier. But you have to keep the subject in the AF target area in the viewfinder, or the camera won't autofocus on it. Practice on kids or maybe stray animals and you'll develop a knack for focusing on moving subjects, and accurately track them with the camera.

5.     Practice makes Perfect – When you first start practicing the techniques like,—Panning the camera, Shooting at the peak of the action, Focusing and the like—don't put the film in the camera. That way you won't waste a lot of films while you get the hang of doing these things and begin to develop a sense of timing (which is the key to any good action picture). Practice focusing (both in AF mode and manually, if your camera permits it) and following the action with the camera. Practice tracking a child or pet around, trying to snap the shutter at just the right moment. Practice panning the camera by tracking cars driving by on a busy street (not from the middle of the street!). When you start to feel comfortable doing these things, put some film in the camera and start taking pictures of these same subjects. When you see your pictures, you'll be able to check on your progress and see which techniques you've got down pretty well and which ones still need some work.

6.      Equipment (camera, lenses, flash, film) – All you really need to photograph action is a camera, a lens, and some film (or a memory card, if you like a digital). To photograph action like a pro, you need an SLR camera and a long lens. If you're going to shoot indoors or at night, you should also have a powerful external flash unit.

7.      Accessories – A tripod is always a good idea when it's possible to use one because it can hold the camera steadier than we can. A monopod is a great alternative to a tripod. In effect a tripod leg with a mount for the camera at the top, it's not as steady as a tripod, but it's steadier than hand-holding the camera and long lens and is sometimes permitted where tripods are not. You probably have a lot of gear—a camera body, several lenses, a flash unit, lots of films, etc. So it's nice to have a convenient means of carrying it and keeping it all together as you shoot. A rugged soft camera bag is probably the best choice for this. A hard case provides more impact protection, but is bulkier, and might not be permitted on sidelines. A photo vest holds lots of stuff and keeps your arms free, and is a great idea unless you have some lenses that are too big and heavy to carry that way.

Famous Action Photographers

1.    Morgan Maassen (United States)

Credits: Morgan Maassen

2.    Chris Burkard (United States)

Credits: Chris Burkard

3.    Ben Thourad (France)

Credits: Ben Thourad

4.    Eugene Tan ( Australia)

Credits: Eugene Tan

5.    Tim McKenna (Australia)

Credits: Tim McKenna

6.    Sarah Lee (United States)

Credits: Sarah Lee

7.    Jimmy Chin (United States)

Credits: Jimmy Chin

8.    Thomas Morel (Norway)

Credits: Thomas Morel

9.    Zak Noyle (United States)

Credits: Zak Noyle

10.   Tristan Shu (France)

Credits: Tristan Shu

For more information on Photos & Photography, visit www.worldphotographersclub.com

Happy Shooting!