Action Photography Night Photography

How to Shoot Action Photography at Night – 9 Tips to Get that Perfect Shot

Do you want to capture extremely vivid and more dramatic action shoots at night?

Do you want to shoot clear, crisp photos after day light has long gone?

Well, let’s face it. Taking good action shots can be a challenging job for most amateur photographers. And taking photos during the night under either low lighting or harsh lighting conditions can make it even more difficult.

However, with the proper equipment and the right techniques, nothing is impossible. You can shoot all those interesting action photos at night with virtually no problem at all! So how do you do it? How do you capture stunning action shots at night with as much accuracy and precision as possible? Here’s how:

  1. Come well prepared. Aside from bringing your camera bag and all the equipment you need, you should also consider having a belt pack system or a messenger-type bag that’s custom made for holding your basic camera equipment. This way, you don’t need to go back and forth where your bag is just to change lenses or memory cards, and miss out on all the action.
  2. Use the right camera for the job. For best results, choose a camera that affords you a lot of manual control (consider a super zoom camera).
  3. Likewise, use the best lens for the job. One of the most important things you need to capture all those great action photos at night is the right lens. If you can afford a 300 mm or 400 mm, I’d say go for it. After all, with proper care, a good lens will last for about 10 years. If such lens is way beyond your means, consider buying a 70 to 200 mm lens instead.
  4. Use higher ISO settings. For crisp, clear photos, set your ISO somewhere between 800 and 1600. Don’t use the highest ISO setting since it can produce that ugly grainy effect.
  5. Use a slower shutter speed. A slower shutter speed captures the action and freezes it at just about the right moment, enabling you to get that perfect shot. It also adds energy to your photos and produces a very clean background. To get the effect you’re after, try experimenting with different shutter speeds. With constant practice, you’ll surely get it right!
  6. Avoid using a flash. Using on-camera flash is usually inadmissible when you’re shooting professional sports since it distracts the players and all the people around you. However, if you’re covering low level sports events, you can use your flash if it’s okay with the organizers and the teams’ coaches.
  7. Consider panning. Panning is often defined as the “art of motion photography”. And while it has been practiced by a lot of professional photographers for ages, there’s still something about it that never fails to excite photography aficionados. In using the panning technique, you take the picture of the subject while moving your camera along with it. The resulting photo will show a clear, sharp picture of the subject on a streaked background, thus depicting fast movement. Panning works best when slower shutter speeds are used (consider 1/30 or 1/40). To increase your chances of getting the best results, use the continuous focus mode.
  8. Avoid chimping. Chimping is one of the most common errors most sports photographers commit. You are guilty of chimping if you are constantly checking every photo on your LCD right after shooting them. Do this and you’ll miss out on all the action.
  9. Anticipate where the best action is. To increase your chances of capturing great action photos, you must anticipate the moment, plan your shots well ahead of time and be prepared to take a lot of shots.

Shooting the best action photos at night may be challenging, especially when you still don’t know the right tricks. But now that you know how to shoot them, the next thing that you should do is to pack your gear and go where the action is. It’s time to start shooting!

I hope at least one of these tips will benefit you,

Ray Baker