There are several ways to shoot great looking action images. There are several ways to do that. Firstly I would suggest you to figure out which kind of images you would like to make. Hereby I will give you 5 tips, which should help to improve your action photography skills. They are placed in a random order.
1. SHOOT MORE
What do I mean by that? Here’s my explanation: don’t be afraid to shoot more images. Try different ideas, all of them, because what do you have to lose? Yes the correct answer for that is: nothing! Don’t be afraid to try out different things, it doesn’t mean that you have to publish everything. Practice makes better! Shoot and have a look what works for you and what’s not. When the day comes and you need to work for a client, then you know exactly what are your skills and what kind of images are you able to produce as a photographer.
2. FREEZE MOTION
If your subject is a fast moving object you want to make sure that your shutter speed is fast enough so it would freeze the motion. In order to do that you would need to know your subject. For example: for a portraiture work I don’t want to go lower than 1/200 of a second and for motorsport photography I would keep the shutter speed around 1/1000 of a second. For action photography I would say the most important thing is the shutter speed. So mind the other factors but bear in mind aperture, iso and etc. With above mentioned shutter speeds I’m confident I can freeze the action and still able to show a sharp subject in action.
3. USE REMOTE FLASH
Try to mix it up with a remote flash or two. Again: find a location where you want or need to shoot at. Think it through and have a look would it possible to use flashes at that location. You can use your flash as a main light or a fill light source dependent on the needs that you have for your shoot. You would also need some remote flash triggers. There are a lot of those out there (f.e pocketwizard, phottix and etc). You can basically setup your own outside studio wherever you are. The only thing that stops you is your imagination. Play around with the power of light the flashes can give you and find the best amounts for your shoot.
4. USE FIX LENSES
I know it might come as a surprise for some of you, but the overall quality you get nowadays from fix lenses is outstanding. Try some different models and see how you like it. I would suggest 24, 35 and 85 mm lenses. For example I’m using Sigma art series 1,4 ones and they are simply amazing. So what’s the effect of using fix lenses? it puts your mind and feet back to work. What does that mean? It means: before you zoomed in and “voila” easy, got the shot. Well, now you would need to walk closer or further or etc. You will find new angles, ideas, perspectives and etc. You wont loose anything, but you can gain an awful lot. Fix lenses also have small aperture which gives you a very nice shallow depth of field.
5. FOLLOW THE LIGHT
The most important aspect in photography is the light. So photographers are always on the hunt for that gorgeous light. For some of us it comes naturally, for some it never comes ... How can you learn to see it? It’s actually much easier than you think. Start from the scratch: go outside and have a look where the light is falling and where those shadows are! You don’t have to take your camera with you. At first you are better without it. Just take a walk and observe. Try to see the different shapes of the light and how it differs dependent from the time of the day. Once you have got better at it, you should start to think about your photography work and how you can place and use your subjects in coherence with the light. The key factor here is to take it steady. Don’t panic and just go and have fun with it.
Don’t forget that at the end of the day we are all creators and there is no right or wrong picture. We all have different perspectives and ideas and we should try to combine all of those in our photography work. Don’t forget: it’s easy to judge, but far harder to create!