How to shoot dramatic action photos

<- Photo of Christiano Ronaldo in action from

Action photography is all about capturing the action as and when it happens. I'm not the expert in action photography, but i want to share great tips here from Malaysia Hardware Magazine (HWM). Quick reactions, panning, zooming and follow focusing are all part of the skills set needed to be a successful action photographer.

Practise makes perfect

If you are serious about shooting good sporting action photos then you really need to do your homework. Start out by selecting a few sports that you enjoy watching then surf the web to sites like or, to see how the pros do it then use these images for inspiration.

Getting an angle

All running sports like soccer , rugby and softball look better from a lower viewpoint as it makes the action appear bolder and the players bigger and stronger . Invest in a monopod to steady your camera and long lense of course. Also think about buying a cheap set of kneepads from a sporting shop to spare your knees on the hard ground.

Quick tips:

Shutter speed required to freeze action

- If people is walking at about 10kmph then use any shutter speed above 1/250

- For joggers and active children shutter speed above 1/350

- For things moving fast, racing cars, motorbikes, horses or planes always use shutter speed over 1/500 to freeze the action
Photo from

Zoom lense burst

Moving the zoom lense during a slow shutter exposure (long exposure) creates a stunning image that conveys a different feel to your action photos. Select a higher aperture to slow the shutter down below 20th of a second and then practise shooting and zooming at the same time. It works better on push-pull zoom and even better when you combine it with a rear curtain sync flash exposure.

(SOOC) Straight Out Of Camera using Zoom lense burst technic - No editing at all


Many of the most memorable sports photos look great because they shot as strong verticals with lines of tension which highlight the players actions and expressions but always experiment with your angles and format. Look high or low for different viewpoints to make your pictures more dramatic.


The way to making your picture very dramatic. It focuses the viewers attention on your subject. Select a shallow aperture, say f2.8 or f4, when using a telephoto lense to make your background blur out.

Source : HWM - Malaysia Hardware Magazine (November 2005)



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