5 Useful Tips for Mastering Action Photography

Action photography is used to capture action or motion and convey it through a photograph. Almost everything around you is constantly in motion. Some move a lot faster while there are others that are very slow in their movements. 

If you’re an action photographer, you use certain techniques to shoot your subject in motion. Often, the key moment is highlighted through this style of photography. This is particularly true in case of sports, where the photographers are always trying to shoot the important moments. 

As an action photographer, it is important that you’re at the right place at the right time. Only then will you get that perfect shot you want. Here are some tips that would help you in your journey towards mastering action photography:

1. Try shooting from different angles

To get a shot that’s quite unique and aesthetically pleasing, you can try shooting from different angles. When you shoot upwards at your subject from a lower level, it appears larger than life. If you shoot from a higher level down at your subject, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the action. 

Every angle can give a certain effect to the shot. You can try shooting from some interesting angles and then select the best ones from the lot.

2. Select the right background

While shooting, you must double check whether the background is appropriate for the image. You must make sure it’s not distracting the viewer from the subject. Choose a clean area for the frame so that your subject gets the maximum attention. 

If you’re shooting a sporting event, find a background that tells most of the story. When you’re photographing a subject in action, the background can raise the action to another level. 

3. Show the motion

You might freeze the subject midair on the image to take a great shot. The intention would be to show movement, but it may appear like the subject is just floating through. For truly creating the right effect of action, there must be a sense of action in the subject. 

For example, a woman swinging forward must be show with her hair flying backwards. Only this would create a true sense of action. Another technique of showing motion is using the negative space to convey the direction of your subject.

4. Prioritize shutter speed

When your subject is in motion, it is important to get an image that’s not blurred. In landscape or portrait photography, you can use the right camera settings to get the image right. Action photography is quite different in this regard. Here, you have a moving subject and this is why the right shutter speed must be chosen. 

The quicker your subject’s movement, the faster your shutter speed must be. Cameras with a ‘Shutter Priority’ mode are extremely useful in getting such results. You must choose a constant shutter speed that works best for your subject. The rest is done by the camera, allowing you to focus on the other aspects.

5. Capture the action at its peak

Once all the other aspects are taken care of, you can focus on capturing that perfect moment. It must, in a way, sum up the action in a single frame. This depends entirely on your knowledge about your subject and the action being performed. 

An example of volleyball would explain this better. In volleyball, the peak of the action would be the moment right before the spike. The ball, the hitter, and the blocker are in the air and you can tell what might happen next. 

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