Photo Tip Friday: Capturing Motion in your Action Shots

by Mary Denman  @MaryDenman

Last week I talked about how to take clear action shots. You can read about it here.

This week, I want to talk about taking action photos that capture the feeling of motion instead of stopping it. 

Remember, you have to have a higher ISO 800 or above to stop motion in action shots. 

If you want to capture the movement of the action, you need an ISO 100 or 200.

There are generally 2 ways to take a moving action shot. Either the subject is moving or the photographer is moving.

Here is an example of me moving while the subject is still.

I was riding in our convertible in the mountains. I used ISO 100 while hubby was driving around 50 m/h (80 km/h). I held the camera up over the windshield and took the shot. (Don't ever try this if you're the one driving.)

Notice that the very center is clear while everything else is streaked. 

The shutter speed was 1/50 of a second. Because of the car speed, the camera couldn't take a crisp clear shot. But that's okay because I wanted this feel of motion. 

In this second shot, the subject was moving and  I was in one spot.  

While I was in one spot for this photo, I was panning with my son as he ran past. He's not totally in focus, but I love this shot of him and his boundless energy. I used ISO 100 or 200 for this picture. 

In the third and forth shots, you can use see the affect of using your zoom function while taking a picture.

As you can see, I took usual shots of my Christmas tree lights. By having ISO 100 in a somewhat dark room, the shutter was open longer. So all I did was click the shot and move the zoom simultaneously. It produces this fascinating patterns. 

So, some blur in pictures can be good. It can show motion and speed. But you still have to have enough clear so others can see the point of the photo.

ASSIGNMENT: Try taking action shots BEFORE you need to. Grab your camera and try it out today. Get your pet to run past you. Borrow a pet to run past you. Find someone to run past you and pan with the, Try the technique using the zoom feature on an indoor light. Feel free to leave me a link to any shots you take, or tag me on Instagram. (@MaryFDenman)

FOR BLOGGERS: The world of blogging is forever changing. You need to move with what's going on. You don't want to stand still and have life pass you by. So keep learning, whether it's how to write better blog posts, how to improve your photography or how to use Social Media more efficiently. (I recommend Edie Melson's blog for that.) Be active and engaged with your audience.

FOR CELL PHONE CAMERA USERS: You can use your phone to pan with your subject as they move past you, but unless you have an app that allows you to control the shutter speed, you wouldn't be able to accomplish #3,4.

Hope these tips help.
Keep on Clicking!




  1. Great tips! I'm a new blogger and just learning photography so thank you for the info. #FridayFeatures

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by Nicole! I'm glad the photo tips can help you! Ask questions any time!

  2. Visiting from Friendship Friday at Create With Joy.

    These remind me of a photography class I took in college. You know, in the day when there were film and negatives. Hah! I got some great shots from a moving boat.

    I have to use my phone if I want pictures for the time being, so I really appreciate the cell phone tips!

    Here's my Friendship Friday post.

  3. I've just started picking my camera up again after an almost year long hiatus! Thanks for these great tips on motion and movement. Now to get me a convertible car ;)

  4. Lucky for me, my basement Christms trees are still up, so I can try to duplicate your zoomed lights!

  5. Nice tips!
    Thanks for sharing at

  6. Thanks for sharing the tips!