ART OF LIFE: HOW TO MASTER ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY

Action photography is something that is around us all the time.  It is part of life.  We have action things happening to us, around us, and most of the time we don’t have our cameras ready, or, if we do, sometimes we miss it, or, we plan on catching the best photos EVER!!  I think this is where a photographer becomes a photographer, because they are always ready for action.  Things happening around them all the time.  I often carry two cameras with me, my cell phone camera, and then my ruggedized digital camera with me, just to have with me in case something happens.

So, what is action photography?  I remember when I took my first real college class in photography.  One assignment:  take an action photo.  So, I thought about something, maybe something different than everyone else.  And I took the picture of water splashing into water:

Timing had to be just right, and catch water and the ripples just right.  Yeah, got an A on that assignment.  Good action photo, but, not your everyday photo.  What we take everyday requires your camera to do something that not all cameras can do.  So, check out and see if you can do the following on your camera:

*  Change your shutter speeds

*  or Change Tv (time value)

*  Action mode ( simpler cameras)

*  Icon with a Person running

I was just checking my new cell phone camera, and sorry to say, it doesn’t have any of those settings.  Some cell phone cameras have something like that.  So, check your instructions or settings on your camera to see if you have some way to set for speed settings.

 How can you catch someone running or jumping or do great action shots like this if you don’t have any way to freeze the action.  And that is why you need those settings on your camera.  If you don’t, the chance of them all being blurred pictures is the result.  If you can change your shutter speeds, then you use the faster shutter speeds, like 1/500th, 1/1000th or even 1/2000th of a second to freeze action.  But, remember, that to do that you have to have the subject in a lot of light.  The higher the shutter speed, the aperture on the camera will change the opposite direction to compensate for the faster shutter speed.  Just plan on having a lot of light when you do this kind of action photography.

Everyday photography is so much fun with your kids.  Catch them in their own play.  It will mean so much in a few years.  Notice in this picture the water and the action is all frozen there in time.  Every detail of the fun is there.

Now, this picture is another fun way to do action photography, and this is called “panning photography”.  You literally follow the subject with your camera while they are moving.  Still use a somewhat fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second is great)  and notice that you freeze the action of your subject but blur the background.  Makes for a great poster of your subject.  If you don’t have control of your shutter speeds, you can still do this with a camera that just gives you the other settings mentioned above for action photos.

Now this is a totally different panning photo, this time using a slower shutter speed.  You will just have to see if you like this type of photo or not.  But, this time you use a slower shutter speed, like 1/60th of a second and pan and follow your subject still.  You still keep the body sharp, but, everything else that moves is blurred, such as the feet, hands, and background.  Just a unique shot.  So, with your automatic cameras, take it off the action mode, and try it and see if it will work.  This shot will take practice to see if you can do it.  Nice thing with the new digital cameras, if you don’t like it, you can delete the picture until you get the desired photo.  Try different speeds, if you can to get the desired effect.

This is another form of action photography.  And it shows you exactly what happens to water at different shutter speeds.  OOOhhhh, this might make you want to get one of those bigger cameras that allows you to change shutter speeds so you can do this effect.  In this picture above, you can see what shutter speed they used, and what effect it had on the water.  What do you like?  Most people like the blurred water.  It gives it more of a dream effect, or smooth effect to the water.  See what a slow shutter speed can do to the picture below:

Have you ever seen the ocean waves look like that?  They don’t look like that.  But, you can make it look like that.  With using a slower shutter speed, BUT, you cannot do this photo without using a tripod with your camera.  No one has those kind of nerves of steel.  I remember the rule of thumb:  You can only hand hold a camera for a photo at 1/60th of a second or faster.  And some professional landscape photographers shoot all their photos with their camera on a tripod.  Standard equipment.

So, some of these photos on this subject today cannot be taken with your standard cell phone camera.  Maybe you can download an app that will help you do it.  But, a better digital camera or a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera will do everything you want.  And remember, at this point, I am not going to endorse any brand.  There are many good ones that can do this for you. The key is to learn what you can do with the camera you have.  And then experiment.  If you can’t do it, then don’t be discouraged.  Keep taking pictures.  Some day you can work towards getting a camera that can do these kind of spectacular photos.

Happy shooting !!

Just a quick note:

123Photogo Store is now online.  Buy some photos from some photographers.  This is planned to be a site where photographers can come to sell their photos….. a place to sell their good photos and not worry about setting up a website to sell their photos.  This store is just the place to do that.  Here is an example of just one of those photos:

See you at the store:   123photogo.myshopify.com

123Photogo is a registered trademark.

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