Action Photography Techniques

Techniques and Action Photography

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St Louis Photography Event Photographer St Louis Missouri Illinois

Las Vegas IRB Sevens Rugby 2014

Over the years I have been able to photograph a number of high profile sporting events.  In each case the following  tips have been my rule for capturing great images the editors want to see.


Get the lens with the best length and keep it a prime.  No Zooms.  Canon 300 mm 2.8 is spectacular.  It is one of the few lenses that can capture a bead of sweat. I made the mistake of using the Canon 28-300 L 4.5-5.  What a mistake!  Images were just too soft.  If you can the Canon 600 mm is the one.

Shutter Speed-

Get a monopod and keep the shutter speed high.  Nothing worse than a wonderfully composed image that is blurry because of a slow shitter or because you were tired of holding the camera and lens.

Max the Frames per second-

Don’t be a fool and think you can use single frame or low frames per second in fast action sports.  Set the shutter per frame to the max and let rip.  Assume you will need to go through 1000’s of images in post production.  I can cover 3000 images in 30 mins or less in Lightroom.  But to lose THE shot because you didn’t want to cull the images is plain silly.


This is essential.  I like the corners of the filed and the side where I think the action will happen the most.  A little homework on the teams helps.  Also pick the position where there will be less clutter in the background.  Even at 2.8 you want to be aware of this.


Follow the action and anticipate the action.  You want to be in a mindset that just prior to THE shot you are going to start the frames.  So 10 frames before THE shot and I am starting.

Fill the Frame-

It’s about the athletes.  So fill the frame either in post production or in camera.  A big prime telephoto will let you do that.  Show the emotion of the scene because that’s what the action is about.

Shari Photography

Our professional photography studio specializes in business and acting headshots. The headshot studio has been going strong for 10 years by proving exceptional headshots , quick turnarounds and amazing customer service.

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