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Photo Tip Thursday: Photographing a Moving Subject

This week’s photo tip is short and sweet.  It has to do with shooting moving subjects {say photos of your subject walking in their outfit photos}.  Conventional focusing procedure has you select the focus point and place it over the desired area of your subject, depress the shutter release halfway to focus, and then depress the shutter release all the way to take the photo.  Now, when taking photos of moving subjects this way, three major problems arise:

  1. To ensure that the subject is entirely in focus, you have to constantly track the subject, keeping the focus point you selected over the subject, focus, and then take the picture EVERY TIME you take a photo.
  2. In addition to achieving proper focus, you have to time your photo to when the subject is in a full stride.  This just looks the best as it is the most natural.
  3. When you’re using really large apertures and the subject is moving towards you, the depth of field is often so shallow that by the time you’ve focused and then snapped the photo, they’ve moved out of the area that would be in focus, leaving the subject blurry.  We don’t want that.
With Al-Servo focus and continuous drive enabled, all you have to worry about is keeping the selected focus point over the subject’s face and taking the pictures.  Easy as can be!

The good news is that there’s an easy way to avoid having to do all of this stuff and to ensure that your photos will be in focus.  Set your camera’s autofocus mode to “Al-Servo” or “Continuous Servo” mode {the name depends on the brand}.  In this mode, when you depress the shutter release halfway to focus and hold it there, the camera will constantly update it’s focus to whatever the focus point is covering, perfect for moving subjects.  Next, set your camera’s drive mode to “Continuous” {it should appear as three stacked rectangles}.  Continuous drive will allow you to take a burst of photos for as long as you have the shutter release held down.  All the information on how to set your camera to these modes can be found in your manual or online.  Now, when the subject is moving towards you, all you have to think about is keeping the focus point over their face and they will always be in proper focus.  Also, timing is no longer an issue as you can select which photos look the best from the many you have!

Thanks for reading!

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow, this is great! Never knew or remembered to look up what Al-Servo meant! Now I know, hopefully my son riding his bike will no longer be blurry. I am learning so much! The WB tutorial you did was a freakin lifesaver…okay I'm being dramatic, but it really did change my life, that is NOT being dramatic, at all.

  2. This is such a great post. I'm in the process of replacing my lost Canon though I've been outta the game for a while so I hope it's like riding a bike! Hahaha!

    SDMxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

  3. very interesing! love this post- on of course your looks 😉
    kisses and happy weekend!
    Maren Anita

    FASHION-MEETS-ART by Maren Anita

  4. Anastasia says:

    Thank you VERY much for this post!!! I can photograph my little fidgety daughter properly now!!

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