Day 3 – Take Better Photos of Your Kids

Lesson THREE.
Movement and Action Style Photography

  • Tips before we begin
  • Flash OFF
  • DSLR users – not ready for manual? Try Shutter Priority, the “S” setting. To stop the motion we need a fast shutter speed. Try 1/1000 and go from there.
  • Point and shoot cameras – try the “sport” or “action” button
  • Phone users, try holding your button in to create a “burst” of photos.

Concept – Movement
Style – Action/Sport Photography

Movement. Let’s begin!

There are two ways to show movement.
1. Freeze the action with a quick shutter speed
2. Enjoy the blur to add visual motion.

1. Freeze action with your shutter speed.
To freeze your action first you need a quick shutter speed. The shutter on your camera is similar to a blink. It’s a quick open and close and it is measured by a fraction of a second. Ideal shutter speed varies anywhere from 1/60 of a second to 1/4000th of a second. The faster your shutter blinks the sharper the photo.

Try it just using your eyeballs. Look off into the distance, out a window, and blink quickly. Blinking quickly stops the action, much like being in a room with strobe lighting. Now try looking out and blinking slowly. If you open and close slowly you will see more movement within that “open”.

If you want to freeze a moment in time you need a quick shutter speed.
*For those with a DSLR set your camera to Shutter Priority (the “S” setting) and your speed to 1/640, 1/800, or 1/1000.

When you photograph movement you will need to take a LOT of photos. Seriously, like a lot of photos. Just keep snapping. Because you are trying to stop motion you’re going to have 99% of your photos turn out pretty terrible… it’s finding that gem in the photos that is the money shot! …iphone users that burst button works well here!

Ok, now let me show you!
I asked for my long-haired neighbor to come to my back yard and help me. I wanted to show you all how to photograph her beautiful moving and flowing hair. I had Ava swing her hair left and right over and over. I changed my perspective and got down low and had her swing her hair more. I stood up and photographed more hair flinging and then had her turn around and swing her hair more. I GOT ONE great photo (and 3 that weren’t too bad.) I took 83 Photos of Ava in a matter of 2 minutes, and got one awesome shot!

This is my ONE shot that I love!
This is an example of the 83 photos that were awful.

Here is another example of Jay riding his bike. I took 120 photos and I liked just a few! Motion is hard to capture but it’s awesome when you get that perfect shot!

Movement with Blur 2.
Using blur to create motion.
Sometimes blur is a good thing if you want to juxtapose movement with stillness. If you are photographing something moving fast, a little blur can be cool! If you are intentionally creating blur you want a slower shutter speed and a faster subject.

*For those with a DSLR set your camera to Shutter Priority and your speed to 1/20, 1/40, or 1/60.

Blur is fun if you want to juxtapose something still. You may think blur looks sloppy or you may love it, you never know til you try it out!

Ok, now let me show you!

Here is a photo of Jay, juggling some baseballs. You can see how a slow shutter speed blurs the baseballs so that you can almost feel their movement.

Today’s Style… Action / Sports Photography

Action photography is a photo that shows movement. Your subject matter should be moving when the photo is taken

Simply put, an action photo shows either movement by freezing it or movement by blur. You can achieve this by stopping the motion or by blurring the motion. Sports photography, vehicle photography or kids jumping are all movement.

Let’s look at what we are thinking about when we grab the camera.
1. How is the overall light?
3. How can you, the photographer, stand or angle your camera to show your perspective?
4. How will you freeze or blur the motion?

Now that you see the shot you want to take, do it! Take many, many photos. Action photography is one of those things that you need to take 50 photos and then look back and realize you might have one or two good ones!

Now for your third assignment!!! Take a few action photos

1. Turn off all the lights or go outside if it’s a nice day.
2. Ask your model (or models) to pick an activity. Find something they love to do. You can have them jump, ride a bike, race matchbox cars, or even just spin in circles.
3. Pick your perspective. Do you want to sit on the floor, grab a chair, or run with them?
4. Set your shutter speed (if using your dslr) Fast speed to freeze the action, slow speed to blur. Some point-and-shoot cameras have an “action” or “sport” setting you can try.
5. Take their photos. Heck, take a bunch. Once you get the hang of it, walk around and try different angles or views.

*Remember kids move a lot. Capture them in their element! Have fun!

Post your action style photos… one or more if you love them!

Pick out your favorite photos and post it in the group. I can’t wait to see how your third lesson went! I’m excited to see how creative you got while your kids move their bodies!

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Based Newborn & Family Photographer