Learn Sports Photography

Techniques for taking action shots

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

Camera techniques for sports and action photography.


PanningFreeze action by “panning,” a camera in the same direction as the moving subject. Panning produces images with part of the scene in sharp focus and other parts blurred.

When panning, anticipate the action by starting to pan the camera prior to the subject actually entering into view. As you track the subject, follow the action by steadily turning your body.

After you snap the shutter-release button, continue to move the camera in the same direction for a few moments. This follow-through movement will help keep the main subject from becoming blurred. Check if your digital cameras has a panning mode.

Vary zoom focal lengths

You will probably use the telephoto lens fully zoomed in for close-ups, but try other zoom ranges too for varied shots.

RaceVary picture taking angle

If you can, move around. Take photos at eye level, but also from above or below the subject for added interest and dynamics.

Keep it steady

Try to keep your camera as steady as possible to prevent camera shake. If it has Image Stabilization, use it.

If you are in a stationary place, use a tripod, monopod or other camera support. Prefocus on an area where you anticipate the subject will be, watch for the subject out of the corner of an eye, and then shoot at the appropriate moment.