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#capturewith challenge 10-20th February - action and motion

What is an "action shot" in photography?

Shooting objects in motion can be challenging for a lot of photographers. It doesn't matter if it's outdoor or indoor photography, action shots usually require careful planning.

You should be familiar with your camera and understand the whole process of action shots. There's no doubt, that luck plays a key role here, but for many action photographers, that’s the most enjoyable part.

Action photography is about capturing objects in motion. It can involve wildlife or sports photography, but also everyday scenes. Whatever you plan to shoot, the key to action photography is meticulous planning and a thorough understanding of your subject.

fot. Anna Janecka

Essential Equipment for Action Photography

Action photography is one of the most technically involved forms, which means it’s important to have the right equipment.

  • Macro lenses: it’s not a must but it’s good to have one (starting from 85mm) If you plan to take action shots

  • A tripod: Make sure you have a sturdy tripod, which will help you get perfectly sharp images.

  • A fast memory card: The faster your memory card is, the quicker you can get on to your next shot.

  • Remote control: very useful tool while you have to shoot by yourself

fot. Anna Janecka

3 Basic Camera Settings for Taking Action Shots

In photography, you have three key variables: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Before you start taking action shots make sure you understand these three settings as it will help you get great results.

  1. Shutter speed: Action photography is all about capturing motion, which means that in most cases you’ll need to set your shutter speed first and adjust the other settings accordingly. Fast shutter speeds as high as 1/250 or 1/500 are common when taking action photos.

  2. Aperture: When shutter speeds are higher, you need a wide aperture to let in enough light for a properly exposed photo. Depending on your type of lens, you may be able to set your aperture to f/4. If you aren’t using a macro lens, try starting at f/5.6 or f/8 and experimenting.

  3. ISO: The higher your shutter speed, the easier will be to capture the motion, and the less light you’ll be letting into your camera. You can also increase your ISO, though this may come at the expense of graininess. I usually start from 300-400.

fot. Anna Janecka

Action shots are possible whether you’re shooting with natural or artificial lighting. Natural, continuous light is bright enough to highlight the liquid, flour or icing sugar etc. Taking action shots is a good opportunity to practice using sync speedlight or strobe. To freeze a moment with a sync flash, set your shutter speed to a minimum of 1/200 s with a wide aperture between F/4.5 and F/8.

Action Shots In Food Photography

Capturing action in food photography will come with practice. You have to be patient and be ready for many attempts to get a perfect result, but I assure you, it's worth it.

Get a tripod

A tripod is very useful for many reasons. As I mentioned before, it will help you to achieve clean and sharp photos. But what's also important is, motion shots are usually messy. Imagine dusting icing sugar, after many attempts, icing sugar will be all over the place, so it's good to take 1st shot before, to have a clean scene to combine in Photoshop later.

fot. Anna Janecka

Focus manually

Always set your focus manually. When capturing a splashes of liquid set your focal point on the back rim of the glass or bowl. When capturing dusting or icing put something higher below the object and set the focal point above the object. To make it easier you can zoom in on this area on the live view to make sure that your focus is in the perfect place.

fot. Anna Janecka

Shoot in manual mode

Set ISO, shutter speed and aperture manually. As I mentioned earlier if you want your motion capture to be sharp , you need to increase your shutter speed. You will also have to adjust the ISO. Try to stay around 200-400.

ISO 400, f 7.1, 1/200 ISO 200, f 6.3, 1/250 ISO 100, f 7.1, 1/2000 ISO 320, f 8.0, 1/320

Use a remote control or interval timing

If you have a remote control, you can use it for action shots, however, it's not as precise as a continuous mode or self-timer.

Continuous mode lets you take multiple photos with a delay to give you enough time to prepare the action shot.

If you are the one taking the motion photos, you can work with the self-timer. This will allow you to get into your position and take capture frame by frame (very useful when you create stop motion).

Choose the right angle, perfect light and background and go create some beautiful action shots. I can't wait to see your motion shots entries.

Click below to read about the challenge's rules.


If you have any questions or struggle with any subject, send me a DM on my Instagram or email me. I will do my best to answer and help.


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