After years of photographing animals, and trillions of photographs (well trillions is a bit of a stretch), I’ve learned not to even think about photographing animals unless I’m relaxed.
So to capture great images, the first thing you need to do is go out and sign up for a tai chi class! Ok, …I’m getting off subject, but there is a message…which is to relax before you begin to make photographs.
No multitasking. Keep your mind focused on the present moment. Sit down and take some deep breaths, then use your camera to watch the animal action through the viewfinder and figure out what you want to capture. Try writing or sketching out your concept for the image. Planning is an integral part of a good photograph….you need to know what you want to capture before you begin.
When you are ready to capture that great concept, set your controls first. Start by setting the shutter speed to 1/250 of a second to stop the action. Remember, animals breathe, so even if they are perfectly still, there will be some movement. So unless you want some intentional blur in the image, always set the shutter speed on 1/250 of a second for crisp images and leave it there.
If you are using a point-and-shoot, no worries, just put the command dial on the action icon.
As always, it’s easier to explain with photographs.
The shutter speed was correctly set to 1/250 of a second to stop the action in the photograph.
The shutter speed is too slow to stop the action.