Good Action Photos in Low Light (Tips from Pro)

how do you get good action shots in low light
A low-light photo of a family on the beach

Do you want to take pictures of your kid when they’re doing activities? Of course, it’s an exciting and amazing feeling to capture all those lovely moments of your kid.

For a professional photographer, it’s easy, but what about you? 

Perhaps you have tried a lot of things to take action photographs but failed all the time. With that said, we have rounded up the best guide so you will get good action shots in low or bad light.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Difficulty with Low Light and Action Photography 

Low light has always been considered a bother for photographers. In the photographing action, low-light photography sounds very counterintuitive.

It is since the necessary settings for low-light photography crash with another set.

For a better understanding, let us check an example. 

Suppose you’re setting up a camera solely for taking action photography, and this result would turn into bad results, and you possibly get various pictures in blur mode.

Thus, for action photography, you will have to set up the camera with the shutter speed to capture the movement.

However, some people need to take high-quality photographs which are eye-catching.

So, how it will be possible?

If you set the higher speed of the internet to click photographs, then you’re more likely to get a darker picture, while if you go to cure this, you will be more likely to see great noise in the image.

However, the ideal set-up for the action-photography is choosing the right set of lights. 

Therefore, if you want to take the best photography in dark light, you will need to use an aperture that is wide and slow down the shutter speed.

The lower the shutter speed is, the brighter the image. It might not work when you shoot for action, as you get blurry motion. 

With that said, you will find the happy medium, which is the whole game depends upon the camera settings, as this work well in both as well as the technique you choose to apply.

How Can I Improve My Action Photography? (9 Steps)

Shooting action photography is challenging as you need to work on camera settings. Thus, we have rounded up some of the best tips that might make your photography experience a little lighter. Read on. 

1. Use Manual Mode

To click the best action photographs, one must set up the camera for success.

First, start with shooting mode.

It doesn’t matter what shooting mode you’re using, but you need to make a larger degree of changes over the camera’s settings.

With manual mode, you will get full control, so choosing it is safe. Use the aperture if you do not want to work with manual mode.  

With this, you will be using specific exposure settings that the camera would not choose the settings its own. We will soon discuss aperture settings, so keep reading. 

2. Get a Fast Lens

After camera settings, the next step is choosing the lens.

So add the longest and fastest lens for quality photography. If you are shooting in low light, it means you need an aperture that allows you to have lots of light to click photographs. 

3. Wide-Open Shoot

Once you are ready, your next move is to go for the shoot.

Your first setting would be making an aperture. Well, deciding the use of aperture is easy but putting it into wider settings is essential, so set in the smallest f-number. 

4. Set the Shutter Speed

The next step is setting up the shutter speed.

Make sure you’re using a fast enough shutter speed. Remember, you need to set the shutter speed according to the subject.

Suppose the subject is moving, then your shutter speed will be the function of your focal length. Despite that, your subject is moving; then you need to use a faster shutter speed.

5. Set the ISO

The final step is to set the ISO.

However, you have settled on the aperture and shutter speed.

Next, you need to set ISO to achieve exposure. It would be best if you go with a high ISO of 1600-3200. 

6. Check the Exposure Settings

Once the aperture and shutter speed settings adjust, your next step is to test your exposure settings.

If you in indoors, the light might be changing, so in that case, you will need to tweak the exposure settings, and then you forget about them when you’re taking photographs. 

7. Zoom In

Next, you need to concentrate on taking pictures.

When composing pictures,

The first rule is to zoom in on the subject. And don’t leave the background.

The most important thing about your picture is the subject, and they should enhance the picture. 

8. Wait for the Peak Action

Well, professional photographers know how to make their best use of and get success in the picture.

Suppose you’re doing it yourself then ready to take peak action when arrive and take 3-4 shots that time with continuous camera and focus.

If something other happens, take 2-3 shots of the same. Try to capture those moments to get the best shots. 

9. Focus 

You are shooting with the aperture wide open, so you will have an extreme depth to cover. Thus, you will need to work on the focus, and you can’t leave it.

Now, what to focus on? The answer is, of the course subject. This is an area you have to be comfortable with. 

What Aperture is Best for Low-Light Action Shots?

As you see, the aperture is an important setting that you have to check. Thus, for low light, you need to keep the aperture open as much as possible.

The expert recommended staying within the complete number that your camera lens permits you to set.

If you’re shooting with F/1.2, it may be lenient for the picture style, so use 1.8-2.0 f for the best quality.

So now you have a wide aperture, it’s time to make the shutter speed settings.  

What is the Best Shutter Speed for Low-Light Action Shots?

Shutter speed is a core factor to work on if you would need to get good shots on the action.

Suppose you’re photographing birds, then you may be 1/1000th second or faster. If you are clicking general photography, then regulate the slower-moving subjects.

To enjoy the high-speed action, generally, you should increase the shutter speed higher than 1/1200. However, you may get missing with the shooting action moment as low as 1/400.

Remember, the higher you set your shutter speed, the darker frame you will receive.

Next, you will need to set ISO, and don’t be scared to bump the changes. If you find the frame is dark, then push the higher speed of ISO.

With all these three settings, you can easily get the best photos. 

Focus and Burst Mode Settings

Focus and burst mode settings are also very crucial that you should adjust to get the best candid action shots. With continuous focus, you will get lousy light-action photographs.

Besides, burst setting is crucial when you have to shoot rapid or fast action shots.

Well, the constant focus has numerous names on the camera. It mainly depends on the brand and features of the camera you are working with.

For instance, with the Canon 5D Mark IV Camera, one can easily customize the camera settings, which tell how your object is moving and what difficulties you will find in taking shots. Amend the points of sporadic, obstacle movements, and more. 

Bonus Tips You Need to Focus on When Taking Action Photographs?

Besides checking focus, burst, and aperture settings, the other settings need to work as follows.

  • Panning and pre-focus to get the best shots
  • Test all the settings 
  • Check your screen
  • Work with what you have 

Watch this video tutorial to know how to adjust settings.

The Bottom Line

With the above statement, we hope you got to know how exactly you can take good action photographs in low light. Ensure you need work with focus and the best camera lens, including shutter speed and aperture, to get the best results.