Action Photo Tips That Work

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Net Spy | Tags: , , , |

Taking photos of moving subject requires good camera handling and a relatively advanced digital camera. In this scenario, I will discuss tips on how to get a clear shot with a Canon EOS 40D digital camera, a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens in a fast action sport. You can also apply these tips for action photo contests and fast moving photo competitions alike.

1. In photo contests it is always a rule to get close or move around and try to catch up to the action especially when your subject is a football game. You will be a bit under-lensed with the 70-200 as because it lacks focal length reach. But since we have to work with this particular type of lens, I suggest to keep a 25-30 meter distance to your subject. For picture contests, maintaining this distance allows your to shoot good portraits at 200mm of reach.

2. Always take photos of moving subjects at day time to utilize the Av mode and the highest aperture value of your lens – the f/4. This lens can produce crisp and sharp images for photo competitions and also provides great background blur to let your viewers focus more on the subject.

3. To get more desirable results, set the ISO value to give you at least 1/1000s shutter speed. The Canon EF 70-200mm produces very low noise levels even at ISO400 so you can switch to fast shutter speed anytime to take action photos for picture contest.

4. Also check the weather condition and set the WB settings with regards to your sky conditions. If its cloudy/overcast in your place, use the Cloudy setting, if its sunny outside, use the Daylight WB setting. If the sun is up, position yourself away from the sun. In photography contests, void shooting in the direction of the sun, as your subject front sides will be in the shadows.

5. Try to expose the faces and skin of your subject rather than anything else like their uniforms etc. In photography contests, as far as dialing in the correct exposure using Av mode, you will need to check your review image and histogram. Here you have to compensate the exposure when in Av mode by bumping up the exposure compensation function. If your player is underexposed, bump up your EC in positive 1/3 steps until you reach the proper exposure. If your player is overexposed, lower your EC in negative 1/3 steps until you reach the proper exposure.

Action photography takes long so you need to bring some extra batteries in case you ran out of it while at shoot. You also need a memory card with high capacity to store the shot you need. For shooting a boxing match, I would highly recommend saving pictures as jpegs rather than RAW. Since you are likely to take hundreds of shots during the match, your CF card will fill up quickly.

To see how John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates reviews photographs and meet, go to


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