Photography is an art that not so many excel in. While we all love to use the camera, taking clear photos remain almost an exclusive prerogative of professional photographers. Naturally, this will leave us wondering whether we need to enroll for some photography course in order to master these skills. However, all is not lost as there are several simple and easy-to-follow expert tips that will ensure your pictures come out with a touch of a pro. Join me, therefore, as I take you through some of the tips on how to adjust camera settings for action shots and/or moving images.
Adjust Your Shutter
The first tip for action shots is adjusting the shutter and ensuring you use a fast shutter speed. Shutter speed is indeed the most important setting for action shots and these settings should be done even before the event or shooting begins. Note that a shutter speed that is not set to match the pace of the events will likely give blurry images that you will not be able to use or sale for that matter. If you are a professional photographer, well, you know what this implies.
In order to set the speed, start by putting the camera into Shutter Priority mode and then choose shutter speed of 1/500 of a second as this is known to be an excellent point for most actions and sports. In order to be sure you have it right, start by taking a few test shots before the main event commences in order to test your pictures for sharpness. As you shoot your pictures and the event or sport picks up the pace, adjust your shutter speed proportionately.
Open the Aperture
Opening the aperture enables you to reach higher shutter speeds. For cameras with very fast lens, such as the f/2.8 and f/4 lenses as the ones used by pros, you may not need to fully open your aperture and may have to lower it down from the maximum aperture by about a stop.
For cheaper camera lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or smaller, the lens will have to be opened as wide as possible so maximum light can get in. As a general rule, ensure that you set your lens around the middle of its range as opposed to zooming in on the subject. This will enable you to balance between filling the entire frame and letting enough light in.
Increase the ISO
Generally, the use of a fast shutter speed makes the camera unable to expose a scene properly, even with a fully open aperture. When this happens, the next recourse is to increase the speed of your ISO.
While it is advisable you use the lowest ISO settings that you are able to get away with, you will often meet situations calling for it to be pushed higher than you’d probably like. Even though this will be frustrating, it will surely guarantee clear pictures, even if they are noisy.
Use Burst Mode
Because it may not be easy to keep up with the often swift pace of action and sports, it is always advisable that you set your camera in a continuous shooting mode. This mode is referred to as burst mode. It enables you to take up to 6 shots at a time, thus raising your chances of capturing a good one.
A point to ponder, however, is that if you choose to go with burst mode, you can be sure your memory storage will be filled up faster so always make provision for such capacity. In case you are running out of space, you could use half time or time outs to delete some of the bad shots.
Shoot In JPEG
While it is generally believed that shooting in RAW guarantees better quality picture which makes the editing process easier, it should be noted that shooting in JPEG enables you to capture as many pictures as possible in a time in burst mode. This also makes it possible for more images to be fit onto your memory.
While the image quality will not be anything compared to shooting in RAW, you could compensate for this by going for the killer shots. After all, people would like to associate more with the real substance of the event as opposed to how well it was captured.
Perfect The White Balance
The camera’s white balance is known to help a lot in adjusting to the ambient light, especially when shooting outdoors. However, in case the action sport takes place indoors with artificial lighting, as is the case with many, your camera might be confused to produce shots with multiple shades of green. It is for this reason that your white balance will need to be set to Fluorescent or Tungsten/Incandescent.
Turn the Flash Off
Action events and sports are not easy to get close to, which is why you will require long lenses. Additionally, as you are far from the object, your flash will literally be of no use so instead of letting it run and drain your battery, you could turn it off before you start shooting. However, watch out for those rare moments when the action can come close enough to you and turn on and use the flash.
Tweak Your Focusing
Tweaking your focusing involves setting up your camera to be as responsive and accurate as possible. This begins by switching from multi-point to single-point focusing and then using the focus point at the frame center.
This will mean that when you compose a shot, the camera will focus much on what is at the center of the field of view as opposed to trying to keep the entire picture sharp.