photoshop creative

5 tips for sharp action shots

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Tips from Digital Photographer, by Mark White
May 24, 2016

Capture fast-moving subjects in incredible detail for images with impact


Your camera is a fantastic tool for recording a spilt-second of fast-paced action that would otherwise be too quick for your naked eye to register. However, it can be tricky to produce sharp, blur-free shots that really show off the moment in all its glory. Read on to find out how to improve your results.

Set the speed

To freeze fast-moving subjects, use a fast shutter speed of 1/125sec or faster. Set your camera to Shutter Priority mode so that it takes care of the aperture for you, or use an Action scene mode instead.

Quick focus

Select continuous autofocus (AI Servo on Canon and AF-C on Nikon) and your camera will keep refocusing the shot each time your subject moves. Everything should then be sharp when you come to fire the shutter.


If you can predict the path of your subject, use manual focus to pre-focus on a spot they are going to move into. Then, when they move into view, you just need to take the shot and it should be sharp.

Keep it steady

If you’re using a long zoom to take your shot, it can be difficult to keep the camera and your shot steady. Try resting it on a sturdy surface or using a monopod so that you can still move around easily.

Shoot a burst

Increase your chances of capturing the prefect shot by using Burst mode. This will fire off a series of shots in quick succession while you hold down the shutter, so you can then pick the best from the bunch.