How to take great action photographs

Action PhotographyIn Part 3 of our “Introduction to Digital Photography” we looked at shutter speed and how to use the manual shutter speed settings to achieve high quality images.
In this post we will concentrate on a specific problem that most digital cameras have.that problem is  lag time.

Lag Time

Lag time is the time that it takes the camera to take a picture after the photographer has pushed the button to initiate this process. While in film cameras this process happens almost immediately, the vast majority of digital cameras have a longer lag time. The reason for this longer lag time is the fact that the digital camera has to make calculations according to the settings chosen by the photographer. These calculations take time and it’s that time that we experience as lag time.

Lag time is unimportant for portrait photography, still lives etc. However, it becomes very significant when you talk about action photography.

In action photography, more often than not, every seconds (and millisecond) counts. The question therefore is, what can you do to take that special action shots exactly when you want it? How can you capture that special moment?

How to use your digital camera for action photography?

We recommend that you adhere to the following 6 simple steps to shorten the lag time of your digital camera.

Step 1: Set your focus earlier
Press the shutter release half way to allow the camera to focus before you take the shot.
Step 2: Use manual exposure settings instead of automatic to save the camera having to calculate the correct amount.
Step 3: Only use the flash if you absolutely have to.
Step 4: Use the viewfinder instead of the LCD
Step 5: Choose a lower image quality. You need to practice to get the balance between lag time and image quality that is just right for your personal requirements
Step 6: Use burst mode.

All these steps are designed to minimizer the calculations the camera has to perform and thereby shorten the lag time. Most of these steps are easy to take and don’t take much effort. The results, however, can be more special images that capture that special moment.

This is the end of this post on how to take great action shots. In our next post we will look at some common problems of digital cameras and how to deal with them to achieve outstanding photographs.