How To Take The Perfect Action Shot

How To Take The Perfect Action Shot

I always find myself drawn to images that have some action going on. Like a perfect honey drizzle or the perfect fall of sugar or flour. It took me a while to master how to take the perfect action shot and in this post I’ll share some important tips that I always follow when I plan for an action shot.

action shot

I have to admit before we start that these tips are just guidelines and you have to keep practise with your curent lighting environment to get the actions right. Practice makes perfect with these action shots.

Okay lets begin!

Tips on How To Take The Perfect Action Shot

  • Always use a tripod. I advocate to have your camera mounted on a tripod to avoid shakes, especially if you’re doing the action and photographing by yourself. Also using the tripod will help avoid all the messes that happen when you’re doing action shots. Action shots can be quite messy as it takes a couple of trials to get it right. Having a tripod helps you get a clean shot that can be used in say Photoshop in case there were messes done. You would not accomplish this if handheld as the composition will change.

  •  Set the Shutter speed first. I believe this is the most important setting when it comes to action shots. And this will be determined on whether you’re using natural or artificial lighting, the extent to increase shutter speed. A good shutter speed to start with would be 1/160 and above for crispy images. I always test my action without the main subject so as to know what speed to shoot at. It’s easier to wipe your surface and redo than to remove sugar or flour from your cake. Once you get the right shutter speed, set your ISO. A good point would be anything under 800. Since most of my images are dark and moody, I tend to go above ISO 800. Unless aperture is something you’re keen at, I tend to set this last.

Easy Pancake Recipe Without Eggs

  • Always focus manually. If your looking for a crisp pour or visible sugar particles, its good to lock in your focus in manual focus. A trick I always use is using a ruler as tall as the sprinkle or pour you want and setting the focus anywhere on that ruler, then lock it in and remove the ruler. Then try and aim at the same position the ruler was to get that perfect action.

Drizzle on pancakes

  •  Use continuous mode setting. This will help you take multiple images once the shutter is pressed and you’ll     have a couple of images to compare the action.
  • Take note of the background against the color of the action. You want to use a contrasting background in     order to bring out the motion you’re trying to capture.
  • Altering the type of food to the movement you’re trying to capture. Here I mean if you’re trying to capture honey pour but your honey is too thick, consider adding some water, same goes to sauces. And if you’re            capturing sugar sprinkle, consider using coarse sugar as opposed to caster sugar so that it’s more visible
  • Implied movement is also an ‘action’. When we think of action shots we always assume that there’s a              movement but there can be implied movements, where there’s nothing really moving but the action tells us      that it’s not a still image but something is happening. For example in this image below, there’s nothing              moving but the knife tells us there’s some action taking place.

cutting lemons

I hope these tips will inspire you to get you going on how to take the perfect action shots. They will take a little patience and practice but you can definitely create beautiful action shots. I’d love to see your action shots and you can tag me on Instagram. Check out more photography tips here.


Love & Light

Miss Kabaki.

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