Ten Tips for Better Action Photography - dummies

By Jonathan Streetman

Once you’ve picked out your camera, learned how to use it, and gathered up all of the necessary camera accessories you’ll need at the game, it’s time for you to decide on an event to shoot. You should start out with something fairly small. This might be your child’s little league game or, if you’re aiming for something a bit bigger, high school and college sports are normally pretty accessible to photographers and offer highly-competitive action.

Before walking out your door, make sure to review, remember, and apply the following tips:

  • Know the sport you’re photographing: Having an understanding of the basic rules and the ebb and flow of the game is essential.

  • Shoot in either Shutter Priority or Manual mode: It may take a while to get used to, but your images will thank you later.

  • Prepare your gear: Make sure your batteries are charged and your memory card has space before any event.

  • Find the right spot to shoot from: Get as close to the action as you possibly can.

  • Shoot from different angles: Try finding a spot high up to shoot down from. The results will be different from everything else and shows you’re willing to put in the work for a shot.

  • Time your shot properly: If you’re waiting for an athlete to run into your frame, don’t wait too long or too little. Nothing is worse than thinking you nailed a shot only to notice later that you cut their foot off in the frame.

  • Capture the peak action of the game: Do your best to photograph a monster dunk or a touchdown catch.

  • Don’t forget about the crowd: Fans can be interesting, too, and really fill out your photo set from the event.


  • Don’t forget to slow your shutter speed down and try to catch a little blurred motion: These images probably won’t be your centerpieces, but they’ll complement peak action photos very nicely.

  • Photograph a bunch: Fill up your memory cards with experiments and various angles. In the digital age it doesn’t hurt you one bit to try new things and see what works. It builds your experience and makes you a better photographer because of it.