Photo Tip Friday - Photograph Action or Sport Shots, Part 1

Welcome back! 

A reader asked, "How do you take action shots or sports shots?" So today is Part 1 of a series on how to photograph action or sport shots. 

Let's get started. 

It's very easy to take blurry action shots. 

Why? For multiple reasons.  

One of the biggest is that your ISO is set on 100 or 200. While that is a great setting for taking pictures in bright light, it doesn't work as well for action shots. 

You need to move your ISO up to 800 or 1600. This one change will dramatically help your shots.

When someone is moving, jumping, running or swimming, you need to take a very "fast" shot (Time value - Tv) to stop the motion. As you can see on my shot here, the Time Value is 1/200 th of a second. The swimmers are almost all clear as they take off the blocks. Because I set the ISO at 800 which is more sensitive to the light, I was able to take the photo and have them come out clear.

My camera shoots 3 frames per second (fps). I'm putting up this sequence to show another technique for getting clearer action shots. 

Notice that I move my camera with the swimmers?

Another big reason why sports shots are blurry is if your camera is staying still and your subject is moving quickly, then you're much more likely to get a blurry photo of the athlete. If you follow your subject, then you can get a much clearer shot. 

Next week, in Part 2, I'll show you how to use this technique to create photos that are blurry in the right way to show motion you want to show. 

So, to recap, change your ISO to 800 or 1600 which will dramatically help. 

Then, learn to follow your fast moving subject with your camera. 


On to a personal note, my son won the race he swam that day. But I just want to show you what makes me the proudest of him. Here he is BEFORE the race. He goes to the swimmer on each side of him, shakes his hand and tells him to have a good race. 


And AFTER every race, whether he wins or loses, he shakes their hands once more and tells
them they did well. 
That makes me prouder of him than actually winning. 

Done with the proud mamma moment....

If you have any questions or want to show off your pictures, leave me a comment below! 

Join me next week for Part 2! 

Hope this tip helps! 

Keep on clicking! 



  1. Yay! Now I know how to catch that action! :) Thanks, Mary!

  2. Thanks for sharing these great photography tips at Friendship Friday! I hope to see you again tomorrow!

  3. Yeah for visiting last week's Friday Flash Blog on The Jenny Evolution. I'm setting this up to pin right now :-) Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution