Catching the action

Though I’m a nature, landscape, flower, sunset type of guy, I also love action and sports photography. There’s nothing like the thrill of capturing a moving subject and freezing that subject in your frame. I get to engage in this type of photography when taking pictures of festivals (my fave subjects are street dancers doing their frenetic choreography) and community sports like the inter-county juniors’ basketball game in the photo below.


I usually set the camera mode dial at shutter-priority (S on Nikon and TV on Canon) and at times on burst mode. But there is more to this. In his exhaustive article titled How To Shoot Action and Sports Photography, author Philip Andrews offers some guidelines, shooting techniques and the proper equipment to use. Some of the salient things he points out include the following:

  • It’s all in the timing
  • Finding shots
  • Pre-planning
  • Split-second opportunities
  • Don’t watch – shoot
  • Look beyond the obvious
  • The right kit and gear
  • Post-processing tips
  • Freezing the action
  • Focusing issues

…and a whole lot more. If you want to improve your action and sports photography, this article has all the important stuff covered. Many photographers have successfully carved a career in sports photography. You see them on the sides in basketball courts, tennis matches and Olympic events with their “bazooka” lenses. The images they take find their way into magazines, newspapers, ads and other publications. They are professionals. We are mere mortals, enjoying a snap here and there. But it helps to know the techniques of action and sports photography especially when the time comes when your kid takes his first swimming lesson (you’ve got to capture the dive!), bats his first ball, or his first dribble and drive to the hoop. Important life moments involving family and friends are actually slices of action. You don’t want to miss those.


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