Action Photography Techniques

Techniques and Action Photography

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.

Lens-Action Photography Techniques

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.

Positioning- Action Photography Techniques

This is essential.  I like the corners of the field 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.


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. Also, 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. Action Photography Techniques to help you.

Shari Photography

Our professional photography studio specializes in business and acting headshots and event photography. The headshot studio has over 15 years by providing exceptional headshots, quick turnarounds and amazing customer service.

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