We tend to take digitial pictures the same way we've used our film cameras or disposals, basically, point and shoot. With practice, it's easy to master all of the features your digital camera offers, and the terrific action shots you'll get will make it worth the effort.
From Jeffrey Housenbold and Dave Johnson, co-authors of the book, The Shutterfly Guide to Great Digital Photos (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2005), come these tips for getting your best pictures.
Freeze the moment with the two-step shutter release.
Know how to use your two-step shutter release. By slightly pressing down on the shutter release button, you can lock the focus. Now, continue to hold the button so you can recompose the picture without changing the focus. Once you have the perfect photo, press the button all the way to snap the final shot.
Eliminate the "lag time" by presetting the white balance.
Cameras have an automatic way of adjusting for different lighting situations. It's called white balance. When your white balance is set to the "auto" default, your camera must adjust the colors each time you take a picture, and that creates lag time. Preset your white balance to the lighting you're in -- daylight, night, fluorescent, or incandescent -- and you'll get a faster response from your camera and bright, accurate colors every time.
Highlight the motion by panning the camera.
Panning captures your subject in sharp focus while blurring the background. Position yourself to follow the motion of the moving subject. Press the shutter release and hold it down for a few seconds as you swivel your body to follow the subject.
Catch your kids in the act by getting close to the action.
When photographing your next soccer game, move closer to the action and stay down at kid level by shooting from your knees or on your belly. Also, your picture will have more impact if you frame the action tightly and keep one or only a few players in the shot.