The key to good action shots?

Discussion in 'Dog Pictures and Pet Photos' started by Cali Mae, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    I would love to know the secret to taking action shots when there's nobody to help you, because this is what the majority of my action shots look like:

    [​IMG]

    Primarily like that one, because by the time the camera is in focus.. she's already jumping up and down at the camera.

    But we also have the rare moment when I take a picture in between a bark...

    [​IMG]

    Or an attempt at a tug picture that turns out well...

    [​IMG]

    And that one shot that is in focus where she's sitting and being a good girl...

    [​IMG]

    And the photo that captures the moment when you realize you're addicted to manual because the moment you see your dog being cute, you make a dash for the camera and rush to change the ISO and exposure before your dog realizes you're insane and jumps off the couch...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Shakou

    Shakou New Member

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    Honestly, in my experience....a good camera LOL The best actions shots I've ever taken were always with my ex's digital SLR. Nothing else would work quite as well.
     
  3. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Really good lighting, first of all. Because you need a fast shutter speed and if you raise the ISO enough to get those anywhere other than really well lit places, the photos get grainy.

    I generally use a higher f stop as well, because I can't focus on a moving target with a large depth of field. And honestly, I don't do many action shots close up. I usually take them with more background or crop them afterwards.

    FYI - I'm not a great photographer, by any means whatsoever. But I've taken a few good action shots, and that's how I did it.
     
  4. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    What do you mean by a higher f stop? That's one of the things that I can't seem to figure out. Lately, I've been stuck with crappy lighting so I've had to use a relatively high ISO to get decent pictures but I'm thinking about taking Cali out to the park and trying to get some good action shots soon.
     
  5. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    I just take about a thousand pictures a day and hope some of them turn out. :p
     
  6. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    A good stay!

    Love the pictures, they may not be action but they sure are cute!
     
  7. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Definitely try to get some outdoors, they'll probably come out way better.

    What kind of camera are you using? The F-stop is basically how big the iris opening of the camera lens is. The lower the f stop, the bigger the opening, and the more depth of field you get (blurrier in the background and foreground, sharper on whatever you're focused on). You can change the F-stop with the manuel setting on any dslr camera, I don't think you can with a point and shoot.
     
  8. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Yea it's not going to happen indoors almost no matter what. Get out in some bright light. If your camera doesn't have manual settings but has any pre-sets use stuff like "sport," "blur reduction," or "children" - they are meant to capture action. And seriously, take millions of pictures, there is an element of timing to learn to up your odds of getting good pictures as well as luck.
     
  9. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    I use a Nikon D3100 so it's a DLSR. Does the f stop show up as 1/200, etc? Because the lense I have on it right now has a maximum of 1/200 if that's the case, not sure about the other lense. I might just have to save up and buy another lense for the camera this summer if I'm going to keep taking pictures like there's no tomorrow.

    And her stay used to be pretty good, but then the colder months came and I set it aside for awhile. That'll be our focus in training though for the next decade. :p
     
  10. kady05

    kady05 Active Member

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    Well, you CAN take decent action shots indoors.. I took this at the last dog show I was at, which was indoors in crappy lighting:

    [​IMG]

    But, you need a "fast" lens for that, aka one where you can set the f-stop to f/2.8 or lower. You need to bump your ISO up as well for indoor action shots. That picture was shot at f/2.8, ISO was 1000 I believe. Shutter speed of 1/160.

    However, outdoor action shots are much easier. Good lighting is definitely a plus! But don't be afraid if it's cloudy. This one was shot on an overcast day:

    [​IMG]

    F/5, ISO 500, shutter speed 1/1,250

    Compared to one shot on a sunny day:

    [​IMG]

    F/5.6, ISO 200, shutter speed 1/1,250

    Biggest way to get good action shots? Practice!
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I don't know about the D3100 but the D90 and D60 both have a decent action shot settings. I use it when I'm feeling lazy.

    One thing I do, that I don't see mentioned is that I sit on the ground and usually hold the camera on the ground. It is MUCH harder to get decent action shots of dogs as small as ours are with nice backgrounds. If I can, I try to set it up so that the dogs are up a little higher than I am. If it's sunny, sun goes to my back.

    I also use multiple toys if I'm going for ball shots. It is very easy to set up a shot by throwing one toy right then the other left. Mia will run for the first then sprint over to the second. although lately she's figured out my plan and is trying to pre-empt me to get to ball #2. So I may rethink that a bit. But generally ball #1 is to get her 'positioned' because she's usually right on top of me. Then I use the rest of the balls to get the shots I want.
     
  12. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    I'll have to play with the shutter speed, I'll try to find some D3100 manuals online since the one it came with isn't too detailed. I know it can take action shots because my mom has used it for taking pictures while I was riding, etc but that's when it's just on the sport setting.

    And I usually sit on the ground as well, but Cali has the same issue. As soon as she sees me sitting down, she sees it as an even bigger excuse to run back to me and poke her face in the camera. She's a velcro dog which doesn't help at all. :p I might see if my sister will come out and help me a few times. I'll try the multiple balls a bit more, although usually Cali automatically drops the other one if she sees me with a new one. Or, she'll carry the one over, drop it, grab the other one and push the other one with her paws.

    I'll try all the suggestions out tomorrow so we'll see what happens! :) Thanks everyone!
     

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