Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Capturing the Essence of Action

When it comes to photography techniques, capturing the essence of action through blurred motion is one of the most popular--and sometimes difficult--skills to master. Many professional shooters will tell you that an element of luck often plays a role, but there are a few techniques you can keep tucked in your toolbox when the opportunity arises:

Take a Tripod: A tripod is one of the most useful accessories a photographer (of any skill level) can own. When it comes to providing stability for shots, a tripod will quickly become your best friend. A tripod can be particularly useful when trying to shoot action and when you’re using a longer lens.

Focus on the Face: A more advanced technique you can try is to focus on your subject’s face while in motion. The idea is to have the facial features remain sharp while allowing the rest of the body (and vehicle, if applicable) to appear more blurred. Just keep in mind that you may have to experiment with shutter speed and that the proper setting depends on what you’re shooting and the speed at which it’s moving.

Figure in the Flash: Using a flash is used more often to freeze motion as opposed to creating a blurred effect, but you can still compose an image of movement using this method. Using a flash will allow you to shoot at a higher shutter speed than you would otherwise use, but again, the overall effect you will create will likely be different than blurred motion. A quality flash can help you take your shooting to the next level.

Shooting blurred motion shots may require some experimentation on your part. Use your children running, cars driving by and other objects moving as opportunities to experiment with your settings. Over time, you’ll become more comfortable with what works and what doesn’t and will be able to shoot more intuitively. Yes, this technique takes practice but the results can be immensely rewarding.