Action Photography Tips

"For those of you who like sports or other action, with the right action photography tips, you can take great action pictures."

One of the most difficult kinds of photography is action photography. This is because action photography is basically capturing a figure in action or in movement.

I am sure that many of you have either been to some sporting event or other high action event and tried to take pictures where the subjects were not visible or are blurred on the photograph.

Many of you might ask, why is it that every time I go to the football game or the baseball game and shoot the athletes in action the athletes end up in a blurred image? Simple. The reason the athletes that have been shot are blurred is because the shutter speed of your camera is not fast enough.

This is key. The first of our action photography tips is to use a high shutter speed. Most of your average amateur cameras, even those on the high end, like the Kodak EasyShare, which is a good compact camera do not have the high shutter speed needed for good action shots.

Shutter speed is how fast the shutter inside your lens opens and closes as your camera takes the picture. For good action shots, I recommend a good professional grade SLR camera, because these types of cameras have shutter speed capabilities.

Most of your 35 mm SLR cameras read the speed off of the film canister so you do not have to mess around with changing the shutter speed. The camera does this by reading a code on the film canister. If you have a 35 mm SLR camera, you will see that in the slot where the film canister fits into are many tiny pins. These pins are actually small computerized sensors that read the coded information on the film canister.

If you look at your average 35 mm film canister, you will see a side with black and silver squares. This is the code that the pins inside your camera read and your camera automatically reads these squares and then sets the shutter speed corresponding to the speed of your film.

Shutter speed is labelled as ASA. For example, most 35 mm films available at the photo section of your neighborhood store or at any Wal-Mart, you will see on the film box written either 100 ASA, 200 ASA, or 400 ASA. That is telling you what shutter speed this film needs to be shot at.

Action Photography Tips: Caution: For good speed photography, even the highest speed available at your local Wal-Mart or Walgreens, 400 ASA is not a fast enough film for action photography.

Action Photography Tips
That Professionals Use

The next time you go to the football game or the rodeo, where ever there is great action to shoot, do not go to your average drug store or your local Wal-Mart to get your film. Go to a professional photography supply store. For good action shots, you need a film shutter speed of a minimum of 1000 ASA.

This kind of film is only available at professional photography stores. This is because most of the average amateurs will not take photographs in very dark areas or high action. High speed films are also used to take pictures in subdued lighting as well.

Why is high shutter speed so crucial in our action photography tips? Simple. The way a camera works is that the film is in a light-tight box. As you take a picture, a shutter in front of the lens opens and exposes that section of the film, or frame of the film to what was photographed and that image is exposed to the film by the different varieties of light and shadows. That is how photography works.

The longer the shutter is left open, the more light the film is exposed to. This is why low shutter speed does not work for action shots. Your average film speed, either 100, 200, or 400 ASA, leaves the shutter open too long. This is why with these films the figures in action appear in a blur. The only drawback to high speed films, with a higher speed than 400 ASA is that these films can be very grainy.

All films have an emulsion, which is the light-sensitive coating on the film. This emulsion has small dot-like grains that will be more visible on an enlarged image. The larger the grain, the more visible it will be on an enlarged print.

High speed films do have high grain, but that is unavoidable. Grain does appear more on 1000 ASA film, yet the figure in action, when shot on that film will be clearly visible. This is why photographers for newspapers or magazines use 1000 ASA or higher speed films when they go to a sporting event or some other event where there is a high amount of action.

Action Photography Tips: Digital Cameras: As far as digital photography goes, some of the more professional grade digital cameras are equipped with the high shutter speeds needed for action photography. These need to be professional grade digital cameras.

If you are a new photographer and do not use film photography, as most photographers of today’s generation are only familiar with digital, you need a camera that has high shutter speed capabilities. There are many digital SLR cameras out there, but again there are digital SLR cameras for the amateur, and there are SLRs available more for the professional.

Action Photography Tips: The proper camera - I recommend a more professional grade digital SLR camera. Nikon cameras are the best known for their professional grade digital SLR cameras. They are the most expensive too. Canon, Pentax and Minolta also make good cameras.

Before buying a good quality digital SLR camera for action photography, you need to look at the camera’s parameters. Most professional photography stores usually have knowledgeable people on the sales floor that know about the cameras that the store carries.

Most professional cameras will allow you to adjust the shutter speed for different types of photography. Most professional cameras have all kinds of shutter speeds from B-setting to the highest shutter speed possible. B-setting is a setting used to keep the shutter open manually until you release your finger off the shutter button. The B-setting is mainly used to photograph lightning or fireworks at night.

The B-setting on your camera can also be used to create artistic action photographs, where in the dark you have someone waving a light around and while the shutter is open, the movement of the light will be exposed to the film and on the picture would have an interesting image of light motion on it.

Action photography tips: Sporting Events - In this case, you would need the high shutter speed. Suppose you want that great tackle shot at the football game or the batter sliding to the home plate after hitting a home run at the baseball game. Use the highest shutter speed on the camera possible. This will capture the action limiting the blur as much as possible.

If you follow the action photography tips provided in this article, you can take some great action shots at your favorite sporting event or where ever else some good action might be. Remember, high shutter speed is key to great action photography.

Whether you use the old fashioned film photography or the digital photography, you need to keep in mind that high shutter speed is the secret to great action photography.

The action photography tips mentioned above are not just for the average amateur photographer, but those photography enthusiasts and even professionals can use them too. So go out there and take those pictures that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

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