How to freeze action in photography




024 May10


Ability level 2

If you’ve got a dog chances are you’ve tried to photograph it shaking water off its body after a swim. More often than not you end up wet, water gets on your lens and your shot is blurred. You were hoping for frozen water droplets as they flew through the air, and killer facial expressions as jowls and ears fly upwards. It is possible to get this shot, even with a compact camera, but you need to know how to freeze action in photography.

The key difference between the two shots is Shutter Speed and ISO. I always use a process involving the Exposure Triangle when I’m taking photos:

1. I set my aperture size on the A mode.

2. I check my shutter speed.

3. I increase my ISO if I need to get a faster shutter speed.


Fujifilm X10 Focal length 15mm

So in this instance I set my aperture to f/2.5 as it was quite gloomy on the beach in the early evening. Big apertures like this let more light in.

I knew the shutter speed of 1/100 was too slow for the first shot but wanted to use it for this blog.

The ISO is only 100 – not high enough.

Shaking dog is fast action stuff! I set my ISO to 800, which got a shutter speed of 1/1000. I could have tried a lower ISO of 400 or 640 and probably still got a fast enough shutter speed. 1/500 should have been fast enough to freeze the water droplets and flying jowls!


Fujifilm X10 Focal length 18mm


The other thing I did to make life easier for myself was to use the Continuous Shooting mode. I set it to take 4 shots and picked the best.

And of course, if you haven’t got a dog you can still use all these tips for fast moving children, cats, rabbits etc – you get the picture. (Or you will!)

The star of this blog is Ferb, our 20 month old Italian Water Dog (Lagotto Romagnolo) and he lives up to his name – he swims brilliantly and is is the water any chance he gets.

Did you like this blog post or find it useful? If so, please leave a comment, sign up for email reminders at the top of the page or share it with your friends (or even better, all three!!). Thank you – Jane :-)

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