Taking Better Action Photos
By Bob Hubbard
Ever been at a martial arts or other sporting event and taken pictures and not been happy with what you got? Were the eyes red and demonic looking, or did the subjects look like blurs or whispery ghosts? Here's a couple of suggestions to help you improve your shots.
1 - Know your camera settings.
Most people simply put their camera on "automatic" and hope for the best. This works in most cases, but action shots require a bit more knowledge to get right. Check and see if your camera has an "Action" or "Sports" mode. These settings use preset settings from the manufacturer to try and optimize your camera to capture fast moving action. While not perfect, it will usually improve what you do get.
2 - Use your Flash.
Yes, even in what to you looks like a nice and bright room, using your flash can help to "freeze" the action for your camera to catch it, and will add some pop to your shot.
3 - Enable Red Eye protection.
Many current pocket cameras today include a mode that ties to minimize those evil glowing demon eyes you get when using flash. Red eye is caused by the flash being too close to the lense, and the flash being "seen" in the eye. This is part of why professional photographers use those special grips and have the flash way up over the camera. If your flash is too harsh, try taping a little tissue paper over the light to soften it. Be aware that doing so will shorten the range and brightness of the light.
4 - Know what ISO your camera is set at.
Simply put, properly setting your camera's ISO will improve your pictures. A low ISO like 100-200 tends to be sharp, clear. High ISO's like 800-1600= ten to be on the fuzzy side, and grainy. So, why use a high ISO? The higher the number the more light sensitive your digital film is. Use a high ISO in low light situations.
5 - Take some test shots.
Digital cameras are great in that you can take as many shots as you want and not have to worry about bad ones. Before the event, take some test shots and preview them on the screen. Delete the ones that are really off, tweak your settings and try a few more.
Sports photography is a fun activity, but getting the best quality shots takes a little work. I hope that these tips help you enjoy your photography more.
Bob Hubbard is a professional photographer specializing in martial arts event, nature and portrait photography. He is also the CEO of SilverStar WebDesigns Inc, a web design and hosting company specializing in martial arts sites, as well as an administrator on the popular martial arts communities MartialTalk.com, Kenpotalk.com and FMATalk.com. His martial arts photography can be found there as well as at his martial arts photography web site, martialphotos.com. He may be reached through these sites.
Copyright © 2008 - Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved
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