How to Shoot Moving Subjects

A perfect moment may last only for a split second. If not captured, it may be lost forever. Good photography is more than being at the right place at the right time. You need to know how to adjust your camera to suit the moment. You are not just capturing a slice of time; but you are also capturing the feel, mood and the action of the moment. Photography is an art of transforming a pattern of hues and shades, into a perfect representation of real life by using a camera. But how can you get those moving pictures to rest beautifully on your film? Whether you want to capture a horse in action or bike in mid-air, you need to warm up a little bit and be part of the action.

There are many kinds of moving pictures that one can take, but they broadly fall under two categories. Imagine you want to shoot a horse in action. You may want to take a sharp focused picture of the moving horse against a blurry background. Secondly, you may want a blurry image of the horse to show action, while the people, the fence and the track remain in focus. There are ways you can achieve both these effects, but don’t expect to achieve it overnight.

If you want the sharp focused picture of a horse in action against a blurry background you may need to do some moving. Set you camera to a reasonable fast shutter speed but not the fastest. Also, an ISO 100 film will do. First study the motion path of the horse. You need to position yourself at a reasonable distance, as being too close may be very uncomfortable. Moreover, you may not catch the subject in the centre of the frame. When you are ready to shoot, stand firmly and hold the camera steadily. Now turn around on your waist as you follow the object. If possible, keep the shutter button half pressed, and click it when you sense the right moment. Keep on swiveling till you are sure the shutter has closed.

If you want to freeze the moving horse, without yourself having to move, you need to use a high shutter speed and a fast film. If you are using a digital camera, you may increase your ISO settings and thereby automatically increase your shutter speed. If you are using a point-and-shoot or an SLR with preset mode, set the mode to action or sports. Wait for the right moment and shoot, catching the horse in the center of your viewfinder. In order to avoid shutter lag, keep the trigger half pressed, or else the horse will gallop away past your viewfinder before the shutter releases.

If you want a blurry image of the horse in action against a stationery background, you need to first set a lower shutter speed. This is especially important in poor light conditions. Since there is a high possibility of camera shake, you must position your camera firmly on a firm base or a tripod. You can also use a slow film like ISO 100 to achieve the effect.

Now that you know how to capture the action as it happens, or freeze it in mid air, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. With time, you can shoot like a pro.

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