Free Photography Tips for Beginners
There are 2 basic techniques you can choose when shooting action. These are stop action or blur. Stop action uses high shutter speeds to freeze the action whilst blur uses a slow shutter speed to stress a sense of motion.
Before the action starts be sure to set the exposure for the desired result and prefocus on the spot where you anticipate the action will happen. If you have a depth of field preview button on your camera use this to check the zone of sharpness.
To stop action you'll not only need to use a high shutter speed but possibly also high-ISO's (except on a very bright day). You'll also need to consider the speed and direction of the subject you're photographing. For example a jogger running past you at a distance of 4mtrs may require a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second, whereas a jogger running towards you at a distance of 4mtrs may only require a shutter speed of 1/250. This example is based on using a 50mm lens. Remember when you double the focal length of your lens you need to double the shutter speed. For example 1/125 with a 50mm lens would become 1/250with a 100mm lens and 1/500 with a 200 mm lens. As you know the longer the focal length of your lens the further the light has to travel to reach the focal plane, hence the need for large apertures and /or high ISO's.
When composing stop action photos consider shooting from a low angle and where possible use diagonals in favor of vertical or horizontal compositions. This will help to stress, size power and motion.
For blur photos its recommended you use a tripod, as you'll be using shutter speeds probably 1/8 and under. The slower the shutter speed the more the blur. You'll also need to consider the speed of the object your shooting. For example a shutter speed of 1 second might be ok for something that is moving very slowly but inappropriate for a fast moving subject, which would appear virtually invisible on your DLR sensor. Choosing the correct shutter speed for blur photos may require some trial and error but in this process you're sure to get some interesting results.