How can I take photos and videos of action?

Action inevitably happens quickly and you need to keep up. Fortunately, Canon's PowerShot and IXUS cameras have a range of features that can help.

Take control - set a higher ISO and shutter speed
To freeze a fast-moving subject like the photo below of wing walkers you need to use a faster (higher) shutter speed such as 1/500s. On PowerShot G, S and SX series cameras you can control the shutter speed by moving to Shutter Priority AE (Tv) on the Mode Dial. Select the shutter speed and then your camera works out the other settings for correct exposure.

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Set the Mode Dial to Tv to control shutter speed

But if you don't have Tv Mode, you can also encourage a faster shutter speed by setting a high ISO. This makes your camera's sensor more sensitive to light so you get the right exposure with a faster shutter speed. Switch your camera off Auto and select the ISO via the FUNC./SET Button.

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Wing walkers
, © Matteo Chinellato 2011

Prepare - Get focussed
It can sometimes be difficult to focus on fast-moving subjects but your Canon can help in two ways. The first way is by pre-focussing. Simply centre on the place where you will photograph your subject and then press the Shutter Button halfway down until you feel a slight resistance. This locks the focus. Keeping the button depressed, you simply press it fully when the subject of your photo reaches that point. Because you have preset your camera it should focus on the right area.

This may not be possible in some situations, for example when photographing a plane against a blue sky. Instead try using Servo AF, selected by pressing the Menu Button on your camera. Select 'On' from the options for Servo AF. Press the shutter half way down when your subject enters the AF Frame; then keep the AF Frame on the subject. Your camera will adjust focus as you follow the subject. Fully press the shutter button when you want to take your photo.

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DTM, © Benjamin Schröder 2011

Discover how to pan
Panning is a way of bringing blur to your photos whilst keeping your subject sharp. This adds a sense of movement and speed. Move your camera so that the subject remains in the same position on the LCD screen during the exposure (as though you were videoing it).

Panning as you press the Shutter Button will make your movement smoother which should make your subject sharper. Good panning takes practice, so try out the technique beforehand, maybe on the traffic in your street.

Keep shooting - Continuous Shooting
Once you have got the hang of panning and following your subject, another useful tip is to switch your camera to Continuous Shooting. This means that all the time you have the Shutter Button depressed you are taking photos, which means you have a better chance of capturing the critical moment.

Shoot video
Often video is an alternative way of capturing action. Simply track your subject using the LCD screen. Read this simple guide for tips on making better videos.

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