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How to Photograph Moving Objects

Whether it’s capturing an image of your little one screaming down the track during their 100m sports day final or photographing a rare bird soaring high above the trees, trying to photograph moving objects is a rewarding form of photography.

Posted on: Wed 14 Nov, 2012 by Gary Dean

Setting up

When you know that your subject is going to be in motion it’s best to be prepared before pressing the shutter button.

You need to be in a position where you can take the picture with a clear and unobstructed view. Trying to shoot over or around other people will only cause problems with taking photos of moving objects.

A high vantage point may be the way forward and shooting from an elevated angle can give some great end results.

Shooting from low down, if possible, can also produce some ‘keeper’ shots, so don’t discount changing your tactics if the first option isn’t working out.

Achieving a successful motion shot is all about anticipation. If you are struggling with this and have a degree of control over your subject then dictate a specific line to follow – this way you can judge better when to click the shutter.


If you’re outside then take into account where the sun is. If possible you want to avoid shooting straight into bright light so consider your local environment. Trees and buildings can offer shade and a suitable spot can usually be found.

If you’re inside then you need to maximise the amount of light you have. Getting as close to light sources as possible should ensure you capture some decent images.

You can also turn on your flash. Sometimes this can be intrusive within your shot but on some digital cameras the flash can automatically increase the shutter speed to compensate for heavy lighting.

Your shutter determines the amount of light you let into your shot. The faster the shutter opens and closes the less likely you are to have a blury shot with any subject that is in motion.

Avoiding the blur

Photographing a moving subject will require split second timing if you are shooting single frames. If this is the case then you’ll need to find a hard and steady surface to rest your camera upon.

When this is not possible make sure you tuck your elbows close into your sides, helping to reduce that dreaded camera shake and blurry shots.

Sometimes a shot such as this can be an artistic way of conveying speed. Panning along with the subject is a great way of mixing up your types of photographs.

Even better is actually moving in tandem with your subject. By adopting this method the main action stays in focus with the background appearing blurred which conveys the message of speed.

Camera settings

Moving action is exactly what it says on the tin – fast!

If you can adjust your camera settings (such as with a DSLR or professional model) then this will increase your success rate. Set your shutter speed to fast to help guarantee a better end result.

Another way to make sure you get that one shot is to set your device to multiple shot mode. Usually you have the option to set your camera to rapid-fire, where 3 – 5 shot bursts can be fired off in quick succession. You will end up having to trawl through a number of images once you’ve downloaded your images onto your computer but this method can give you a better chance of getting ‘the’ photograph.

No rule is set in stone though and the tinniest tweak can give differing results. Play around to see what you like the best.

Hands free cams

Many people nowadays are investing in one of the many hands free waterproof cameras you can get hold of.

These devices have been designed especially for those of us with active hobbies who want evidence of our sporting exploits. Supplied with a variety of mounting options for both land and water use, you now have the opportunity to capture all of your adrenaline fuelled fun on camera in high definition.

Photographing moving subjects can be some of the most fun photography you can do. It doesn’t just have to be sports orientated either.

Prepare as much as you can and try something new from time to time too for the very best results.

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