Take your action photography to the next level

Compact camera tutorial

Tips and techniques with your compact camera

  • Zoom in
  • Timing is key
  • Power up
  • Set the right mode
  • Track your subjects
  • Hidden heroes

Zoom in

If you’re too far away and need to make your subject bigger, then it’s best to zoom in manually and keep digital zoom as a last resort because it can make the shot more pixelated. In large venues, such as stadiums and arenas, the flash will only light the two or three rows in front of you – so turn it off.

Timing is key

The best shots are taken at precisely the right moment. For instance, if you get into the rhythm of a tennis match, you’ll see the players briefly slow as they serve – this is ideal, because the ball is stationary.

Tip: Use the focus to lock on to the finish line, keeping the shutter half pressed. Then, as competitors make that dramatic last push, all you have to do is lightly touch the shutter.

Power up

Not surprisingly, taking lots of pictures uses lots of power, so remember to bring a spare, charged camera battery. A spare memory card comes in handy, too.

Sports-Action-Jump
Jeremy – Up in the air
Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Set the right mode

If your camera has them, the best modes to use are Shutter Priority AE (Tv) or Sports. The first lets you choose the shutter speed; the second automatically chooses for you.

Tip: When someone is moving at high speed towards you, it’s tough to track them. Try pre-focussing on the spot where you think the action will happen, and half press the shutter with your finger. When the action hits the spot, simply squeeze the shutter to take the shot.

Track your subjects

Check your camera menu for SERVO AF feature. When this is active the camera will continuously track moving subjects and keep them in sharp focus. It’s best to start tracking just before the subject is in the ideal spot.

Hidden heroes

Great sporting shots aren’t just about winners. It’s all the little details – the match ball, the ref, the emotion of a single fan in the crowd – that add richness and depth to your portrait of the event. In these cases, your standard or Auto settings will do the trick.

Stay Informed

Coming Next: Seeing the world without a viewfinder

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