The thing with kids is that they never sit still, even when you have them all set up for a nice photography session. So, the next time your kids are tearing around – whether on bikes, on foot, or skateboards – here are some tips for photographing kids in action to help you catch crisp action images.
Start with Shutter Priority
This setting on your camera (usually S or T or Tv) lets you set the shutter speed you would like to use, your camera then adjusts other settings to ensure a correct exposure. How fast of a shutter speed should you use? That depends on a) how fast your kid is moving, and b) whether they are moving across the camera or towards/away from it – across requires a faster shutter speed. Start with 1/250s, that should be fast enough for now, you can adjust up or down from there.
Change up your Focus
Most photographers are used to using the one-time focus mode: you focus and then take your shot, then repeat. The issue with this is that your focus is “locked” until you take the image – if your subject moves in the meantime they may end up out of focus. Luckily, most cameras come with another autofocus mode (referred to as AI Servo or continuous autofocus) that readjusts focus based on the movements of your subject – which is key in action photographying when kids are involved. Give this focus mode a try, it takes a bit of getting used to but will certainly improve your action shots!
Keep Taking Photos!
With your camera in “burst” mode, you can take as many pictures as your camera buffer can handle – giving you a better opportunity of capturing some “great” photos, particularly when there is a lot of action involved. Don’t forget to check your shots regularly to ensure that you are catching the action correctly, as the last thing you want is to take 200 photos with too slow of a shutter speed!
When Photographing Kids in Action, Practice Makes Perfect
Your action photography is not going to dramatically improve overnight (as helpful as this article may be) – you need to get out there and practice, practice, practice. You also don’t have to just practice on your kids, any action will do: rollerbladers, birds in flight, baseball players, or a game of soccer. The more you practice these techniques, the more your action photography will improve as a result!
If you happen to have some action photography tips for catching your kids in motion please share!!