How To Guide: Action photography

Practice makes perfect

The key to good panning is practice, experiment with your settings and hone your technique.

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Stock car racing, © Catherine Doyle 2012, Canon EOS 400D

It is quite likely that your first results will be mixed so it is a good idea to practice on non-critical subjects before you try it out at an important event. Even top sports photographers will make many attempts to get it right. Shoot lots of photos, analyse your images afterwards and go back for more.

Don't think that panning is just for the obvious action shots; once you have learnt how to, you can use it for a wide range of subjects. It can also add a new dynamic to your travel images.

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Shutter speed: 1/15s, © Miles Willis

After you shoot
Editing your images after a panning shoot is essential, don't be disheartened by how many frames don't make the grade, it is the same for professional sports photographers. Once you have your final selection use the software that came with your camera to crop and adjust your images until they are looking just how you like them.

Sometimes a higher shutter speed can produce a better action image, freezing your subject. On the next page, a video shows how to do this.

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