Camera techniques Be more dynamic
How much drama can you pack into one action shot? demonstrates how to shoot great images of people on the go
Action portraits are, by their nature, quite dramatic. To get the most out of photographing sports, however, we need to think carefully about angle, focal length and lighting.
Most sports feature subjects that are moving fast, so capturing a clean, sharp image can be a challenge, but no matter what sport you’re shooting, the fundamental rules are the same: unless you actually want to blur your subject or the background (see page 8) you’ll need to use fast shutter speeds and predictive focusing. For our action shoot, we photographed rock climbers Ryan and Mark at Cheddar Gorge near Bristol. Though rock-climbing might not be the most fast-paced sport, it certainly has its fair share of deathdefying drama.
Adding effective drama is mainly done compositionally, though some additional kit can open up more options to you. A telephoto lens will allow you to overcome distance and is essential for many sport shoots,
No matter what sport you’re shooting, the fundamental rules are the same: unless you actually want to blur your subject or the background, you’ll need to use fast shutter speeds
though as we were able to get closer than we’d usually be to a sporty subject, we used a 24-85mm lens for wider shots. A flashgun also helped to highlight our athlete and darken the background for a more dramatic and harsh, isolated look.
One of the best methods for ensuring you get the best possible shots is to try out different angles. Climbing lends itself perfectly to this demonstration due to it being more three-dimensional than traditional sports, where athletes stay firmly on the ground. To try out new perspectives we got above the athletes, below them, and everywhere in between to capture the action.