Guest Post: 5 tips for taking great action shots of kids (photography)

Kids at Play in a Field, Source: John Bennet, LensesPro Blog

Photography with kids in mind

Today’s guest post article about photography comes from John Bennet at LensesPro blog who shares some great information about taking great action shots of kids.

Have you every taken a photo of your kids playing, on the move, and had it turn out blurry and fuzzy? I know I sure have, even with my Nikon D5200 that I own, not every action shot is a winner. In fact, many turn out to be the ones that I go to immediately and hit the delete button. Long gone are the days of waiting for our film to be processed and developed, but even so, photographing children does come with its own set of challenges and John Bennet offers up some great tips to make more action shots of kids turn out looking like they belong in a magazine or in a picture frame as a memory captured that will last a lifetime.

Thanks for the great article, John.

– Will


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Kids at a Birthday Party, Source: Pixabay taking great action shots of kids
Kids at a birthday party, Source: Pixabay

5 tips for taking great action shots of kids

Little Girl Photographer, Source: Pixabay taking great action shots of kids
Little girl photographer, Source: Pixabay

Kids are very active, especially in their young age, as they are always on the move, running around and playing. For parents, there is no better feeling than watching your kids play cheerfully, as it shows you that they are happy at that moment.

However, when it comes to photographing kids while they are playing, for most people, this is an unpleasant experience. Most action shots of your kids will look blurry, even if they were shot with a professional camera.

But luckily, there is an easy fix for this, as we are going to show you 5 easy tips that will improve your photography experience and result in capturing sharper and focused action shots of your children.

We are going to talk mostly about tips for parents who own a professional camera, such as a Nikon or Canon DSLR type of camera. If you are taking photos with mobile phones, some of these tips may still come in handy, but not all of them are going to have the same effect.

Also, we are only going to talk about tips for action shots, as taking photos when your kids are standing or sitting is another story entirely. So keep in mind that we are focusing on tips for shooting photos when your kids are in action. So let’s begin!

Tip #1 – Raise your shutter speed

To get sharp images of fast-moving objects, or in this case, sharp photos of your kids in action, you will need to raise your shutter speed on your camera. You will need to freeze motion, and to achieve that, you need to make sure your shutter speed is above 1/250.

These settings are going to allow you to take blur-free action shots of your kids and improve the overall quality of your images. If you are taking photos outdoor, such as when your kids are playing sports or running, you can even set the shutter speed at 1/1000 or above. The more lights will enter your lens and allow you to take some fantastic photos.

Tip #2 – Adjust your aperture

The sharpness of your images will also depend from the aperture you are using to take those photos. You should try to shoot with a higher depth of field as if you are using one that is to shallow, your kids will be out of focus.

The general rule is that you want to take action shots with an aperture of 5.6 or smaller as that will result in a better quality of images overall as it will provide a wider depth of field. It will also allow you to focus better on your kids with your camera. Once you get the hang of these settings, you can try to experiment to see what settings work best for given circumstances.

Kids Playing Baseball, Sliding into Base, Source: Pixabay taking great action shots of kids
Kids playing baseball; sliding into base, Source: Pixabay

Tip #3 – Turn on the continuous shooting mode

There is a general rule for people who are starting in photography, to never turn on the continuous shooting mode. This is for a few reasons, and one of them is that you want to be able to focus at each photo you take separately as that will provide you with the fastest learning curve.

However, when we are talking about taking action shots of your kids, we do advise parents to turn on this mode. This way, you will allow the camera to capture an entire sequence of given action which will result in more than one photo. This way, you have better chances of finding the images that captured the moment perfectly.

Tip #4 – Choose the right lens

Boys of Summer playing in water, Source: Pixabay taking great action shots of kids
Boys of Summer playing in water, Source: Pixabay

If you already own any DSLR camera, you should consider upgrading your current lens as capturing your kids favorite moments on a photo is always a great idea. But if you are not good at photography, you are probably asking yourself: What is the right lens for me?

Well, the short answer is: A telephoto zoom lens is probably a safe choice as it allows for the most coverage. This will provide you with the best opportunity of capturing your kids while playing sports or running around. However, if you are looking for a more detailed answer on what is the best lens for a specific camera, check out LensesPro blog as it offers guides for each camera.

Tip #5 – Take lots of photos

Finally, our last tip for today is to practice as much as you can, play around with your settings, and most importantly take lots and lots of photos. Luckily, you can use burst mode that allows you to take many pictures in a short period.

You might regret doing this later when you find a couple of hundreds of photos in your camera, but if you want to capture that perfect photo of your kid that you will be proud to share with anyone, you will need to go through them all and choose the best ones.


Taking photos of your kids in action is not that hard; after all, you don’t need to follow specific rules for every picture and all it takes is the willingness to experiement and practice. You will notice that your photography skills will improve with time. Make sure to follow these 5 tips for taking great action shots of kids, and we are sure you will capture some awesome shots that you’ll be proud of for years to come.


  • taking great action shots of kids
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