How to Take Great Action Shots of Your Kids (or Anyone Else for That Matter)

So, you have a nice camera. And now you want to take some action shots of your kids playing ball, your husband on a dirt bike (or whoever doing whatever that looks fun to you).  If you’re ready to get sharp images of moving people and/or objects, this basic and quick tutorial is for you. Follow these few simple steps and you’re on your way to getting the shots that you want.

1. Shutter Speed – A fast shutter speed is vital to freezing moving things. Without it, your subject might be too blurry for your intended purpose. If your camera has an Action or Sports Mode (often shown in settings as a running man figure), use it for an automatic fast shutter speed. This is a great way to start out. If you already know your way around your camera and want a less automatic approach, use the Shutter Priority setting (also known as TV for Time Value, or S for Shutter) and manually dial the shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. That’s a great place to start but you can go up and down from there to get what you’re after. 

2. Aperture and ISO – If you’re using the Shutter Priority setting, ensure you have a wide aperture (low number) and a higher ISO. With a fast shutter speed, less light hits the sensor so you will need a higher ISO to increase the sensors sensitivity to light. 

A wider aperture will give you a softer foreground and background and will help keep your subject in focus. However, a bit of blur at times is interesting since it shows off the motion of the moment. So, if you want to play around with that, just close your aperture some and see what results you get. As you close your aperture you can try raising your ISO some; just be careful of graininess in the image if it gets too high. It’s ok to play around with these settings and see what your images look like. That’s the best way to learn!

3. Focus on the Subject – You’ll want to make sure you closely follow you subject.  If you’re not keeping up with and trying to anticipate where the subject will go, then you might miss the shot you’re after. You could use the Continuous (also known as AI Servo on Canon) Auto Focus setting on your camera, thus allowing your lens to continuously focus on your focus point. Your camera may also have a Burst or Continuous shooting that gives you a quick succession of shots. Just be prepared for ALOT of pictures.

This is just a quick reference. There are numerous tutorials online that will give you more information if you’re interested. I recommend checking out the link below for simple, yet somewhat detailed, instructions.

One last thing…remember that getting great images of anything takes time and practice. So, the more you practice the better your images will become. You have to start somewhere though, so go grab your camera and get in the action.  Thanks for stopping by our blog and until next time…Happy Image Snapping!