Summer Action Shots {Photo Fridays}


Truth be told, I always shoot in manual mode, and most always with a very wide aperture (small f-number). It’s awesome when I want to let a lot of light in or when I want a nice shallow depth of field (blurry background). Not so great for photographing kids on the run, enjoying games and overall, lots of action.


If I leave my settings as usual (f/1.4 to f/2.8) for these types of shots, I end up with a lot of blurry and out-of-focus shots. Sound familiar? Yup, me too. So, I had to get out of my comfort zone for these and changed up my settings. To get good action shots of your friends or kiddos this summer, here are my tips…

1. Go Speed Racer!
Make sure you bump up your shutter speed. In a summer tips webinar, my friend Katrina Kennedy shared the shutter speed rule of thumb:
1/125 stops everyday motion
1/500 stops most kids motion
1/1000 stops most bikes, runners and cars

I opened up the aperture to f/5.6 (okay, still not super wide, but a shift for me!) and made sure my shutter speed was bumped up between 1/500 and 1/400 of a second. I wanted to get my girls in focus and stop the action, but still have a bit of a blurred background, and these settings definitely fit the bill!


Besides my camera settings, the other two things that really helped get these shots:

2. Location, location, location
When the kids were in line for the slip-n-slide, I scoped out the scene and found a spot pretty close to the finishing spot on the mat, but a few feet back so I was out of harms way. And by harm I mean water : ) What a shame that would’ve been to get my camera wet!

3. The Lens, Baby
Okay, another confession… When I first got my Tamron 18-270 (a couple of years ago), I was not pleased. I was using it indoors in the evening and even though I had it as wide as it would go (f/3.5), it just wasn’t giving me what I wanted or expected from my new purchase. I went as far as taking it back to the camera shop for inspection and possible repair. I was given another exact same lens to test mine against. I went outside the store and took some shots of the same subjects in the daylight and they were great from both lenses. Then it hit me – that lens sucks for indoor photography (flash-free), but is awesome for outdoor photos with lots of natural light. So, long way of saying I do enjoy using that lens when photographing outdoors — anything from traveling to amusement parks to my girls just hanging in the backyard. It has great zoom and was fabulous to get those close face shots without worrying about getting caught in the water splashes!


Hope these tips help you get the shots you want! Shots of moments that fill your summer with  special memories that fill your hearts, along with your frames and photobooks and scrapbooks!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a joyful, creative, blessing filled day!
Live creatively!

6 responses to “Summer Action Shots {Photo Fridays}”

  1. Great series.The last photo in particular is noteworthy. Nice job capturing the emotion of the leading girl. The presence of her friend in the background really makes the photo.

    Also appreciate your photo tips.


  2. Thanks so much for the tips and visiting my blog. I’m still saving up for my next lens but the tips on the aperture and shutter speeds will be a big help. Have a blessed weekend! Warmly, Mary


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