Practise action photo skills with these simple projects

Action photography often involves trying to capture a fleeting and sometimes once-in-a-lifetime moment, so it’s a good idea to practise your skills beforehand. Getting to know your camera and how to access its important functions will shorten your set-up time and speed up the shooting process so that you can capture unexpected moments with ease. There are plenty of ways to put your skills to the test at home using everyday objects, or by enlisting friends and family to help. Use these projects to master shutter speeds and focusing, and in the process prepare yourself for the fast-paced world of action photography.

O1 Capture water drops

Shooting moving water is useful for testing your shutter speed skills. You could shoot water from a running tap, pouring from a watering can, or cascading from a water fountain. A fast shutter speed will freeze the water in the frame, while using a slow shutter speed will blur the water to make it appear soft and silky. You can also get creative and shoot water drops using a very fast shutter speed and flash to capture them as they fall. Use continuous autofocus or focus tracking to help to keep your shots sharp, and continuous shooting will increase your chances of coming away with a brilliant photo.

02 People in motion

Get friends or family members to jump, dance or run while you take photos. Use Shutter Priority mode and select a fast shutter speed, then your camera will choose the optimum aperture for a well-exposed image. Switch to Continuous Autofocus mode to ensure you get a sharp shot as they move. If you can, it’s best to shoot outdoors and in daylight, or in a well-lit room to avoid having to raise your ISO and to let you produce clear, noise-free images. Try to position your subjects so that they are not lit from behind and appear underexposed in your photos.

03 Shoot moving toys

Toy trains or cars make great action photography subjects, and are particularly good for practising your panning technique. Experiment with different shutter speeds, then track your subject with your camera to produce directional background blur. Pre-focus your shot by manually focusing or half-pressing the shutter to lock the focus point and keep your subject sharp in the frame. Position your subject by a window or lamp, and if your shot is still coming out too dark, raise your camera’s ISO to make it more sensitive to the light that is available.

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