It doesn’t matter if you want to capture rad skateboarding shots or get some thumbnails for your golf blog, the tips and tools for good action photography on your phone are the same.

action photography on your phone

PC: Joe Monk (@jmmobiphoto) – This is me swinging a golf club. I played golf in college and produce swing speeds over 110 mph. To be able to capture the head and the shaft of the club at all, we had to employ some of the tips for action photography on your phone we’ll get to later!

So, the complete guide to action photography with your phone is applicable when photographing anything with a fast-twitch movement. That can include:

  • Pets or other small animals
  • Sports of all kind
  • Dance of all kind
  • Cars
  • Moving water

See, action photography is more applicable than you thought. So, keep reading to see how you can utilize it in your phone photography.

Complete Guide to Action Photography With Your Phone

There are tricks – like those in the video above, that’ll help you improve your action photography.

But, at the end of the day, it’s the photography tips that improve your skills that’ll take your work from drab to downright dope.

So, let’s get to these tried and tested tips for action photography on your mobile, shall we?

7 Tips for Astronomical Action Photography With Your Phone

phone action photography

Tech Crunch

There’s usually an extra bit of pressure on you when doing action photography because your shot can’t be staged. You can’t pause Lebron James in the air while he dunks, can you?

To explain, if you’re doing a portrait shoot, then you can take hundreds of photos where you can control the variables – angles, lighting, and timing, among other things.

If, on the other hand, you’re at a college baseball game, you can’t expect the game to stop for you. So, you have to do efficient work, have the correct gear, and know what the hell you’re doing.

Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered on all counts.

Action Photography Tip #1 – How to Be Prepared

Corel

Have all your gear charged (need a battery?), cleaned (need a cleaning kit?), and ready to go, so that your efficiency is never an issue (a lens bag would help). Being prepared is the name of the game if you want to capture the perfect action photographs.

Step one of being prepared is having all your gear organized, cleaned, charged, and ready to go. We’re going to tell you what equipment you need to be a top-rate action photographer, but it’s your job to be prepared when the moment of action is at hand.

Know the camera settings you want to use before you need to use them. Be aware of the environment that you’ll be shooting in and adjust your settings and gear appropriately beforehand.

If you’re adjusting when the action is going on, then there is no way you are capturing what’s going on. As an action photographer, it’s literally in your job title to capture the action, so get as much of it on camera as you can!

Action Photography Tip #2 – Vantage Points Are Imperative

action photography vantage points

Wallpaper Cave

Action is inherently exciting, so you’ll need to do some things to set yourself apart as a phone action photographer. Vantage points are the easiest way to add a little spice to an action photo.

Think about it, when you see action shots that truly grip you, they’re taken from odd vantage points. The vantage point decision is a choice that the artist makes to shed light on the action from a different angle – to intrigue the image’s viewer.

The artist above was far away from Lebron, but his vantage point – at the meeting of the baseline and the sideline – gave him an impressive angle to capture this shot. The way that Lebron’s arm angles back wouldn’t have been as cool looking from directly under the basket.

It sounds like the old right place, right time addage, but with practice, you’ll learn to position yourself correctly without having to think too hard about it.

Action Photography Tip #3 – How to Lens Blur On Your Phone

Digital Photography School

A lens blur is a killer tool to have in your photography tool belt, especially if you’re into street photography. It’s worth noting that a lot of action photographers are also street photographers.

It would require a lengthy explanation to teach you the perfect lens blur on your phone.

So, it’s fortunate that we’ve written a guide on long-exposure that discusses how to lens blur like a pro!

Just know, you’re going to have to learn how to lens blur if you want to be successful at action photography, street photography, or night photography.

Action Photography Tip #4 – Experiment With Water!

iPhone Photography School

Intriguing looking water action shots always seem to perform well on social media, so you should teach yourself how to do them!

Truth be told, it’s pretty easy – especially if you have the right gear.

In reality, the trick to taking water action shots on your phone is to experiment and take lots of photos. You have little control over what the water is going to do, so it’ll take some time for you to get the perfect shot.

Do know that Burst Mode is a useful tool for phone water action shots.

Action Photography Tip #5 – Bring on the Burst Mode

Pinterest (iPhone Photography School)

What’s Burst Mode? What’s the difference between Burst Mode and Sport Mode? How can they help me improve my action photography on my phone?

Well, they’re similar to each other, and they’re made for action. To under complicate things, Burst Mode is for iPhone, and Sports Mode is for Android. Really, all you need to know, though, is that they both capture ‘bursts’ of photos.

The Burst Mode is excellent for all kinds of action photography because it’s taking lots of photos in a short amount of time. The number of pictures and the amount of time depends on the phone you’re using, but the results are pretty much the same unless your subject is going really fast.

Remember, though, the Burst Mode with the most shots in as little time as possible is the best option for action photography.

Action Photography Tip #6 – Have a real knowledge of what you’re shooting

I love and live golf, so naturally, it’s one of my favorite things to photograph. The fact that I know and understand the game so intimately aids in my ability to seamlessly capture its nuances without disrupting a round.

By this, I don’t mean that you can’t take good photos of something you aren’t passionate about. For example, you may not be excited about the energy drink you’re doing mobile product photography for, but you have to do the work to pay the bills.

The argument for a passion for the subject when doing action photography stems from the need to react in the moment. You can not think before moving when doing action photography because you’ll miss the action!

As a result, the goal is to know where to move before the movement is needed – you need an intuition that can be only be developed by an intimate knowledge of the action.

Action Photography Tip #7 – Capture the Actual Action

Paws Pet Photography

There’s nothing worse than reading a basketball highlight about a game-winning shot, and the photo for the article is from the second quarter.

It’s not relevant – it’s not the action that the reader wants to see captured!

So, always be mindful of what’s going on. Whether it is keeping tabs on the score of the game or instigating a pet into action, the onus is on you to capture the actual action.

One of the benefits of employing these tips is that you shouldn’t be overly stressed about getting good shots. Instead, you should be focused on getting the ideal shot.

You know, the one that’ll set you apart from the rest of the crowd because it captures the moment, in addition to being a top-class photo.

What Gear Do You Need to Do Action Photography With Your Phone?

Gear Action Photography With Your Phone

The Phoblographer

When it comes to action photography, you’re going to need some gear. If you want to capture things in the blink of the eye, you’re going to need something that can handle shooting at high-speed.

You’re also going to need something that you can keep steady. If you’re shooting at high-speeds, then any unsteadiness is going to be visible in your shot. The solution?

Well, we recommend a handheld – whether it be a tripod or a gimbal. We recognize the fact that most phone action photographers are also interested in videography, so we’d lean towards a gimbal. It’s designed for videography while a phone tripod is not.

Best Phone Cameras for Action Photography

Best Quality Option - iPhone 11 Unlocked
Apple iPhone 11, 64GB, Black - Fully Unlocked (Renewed)
Best Budget Option - Pixel 3a Unlocked
Google - Pixel 3a XL with 64GB Memory Cell Phone (Unlocked) - Just Black
Best Deal Option - Galaxy S20 Unlocked
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | US Warranty |Cosmic Gray
$649.99
$379.00
$799.99
Best Quality Option - iPhone 11 Unlocked
Apple iPhone 11, 64GB, Black - Fully Unlocked (Renewed)
$649.99
Best Budget Option - Pixel 3a Unlocked
Google - Pixel 3a XL with 64GB Memory Cell Phone (Unlocked) - Just Black
$379.00
Best Deal Option - Galaxy S20 Unlocked
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | US Warranty |Cosmic Gray
$799.99

The easiest way to improve your photography is to get the newest technology.

Don’t get us wrong, we definitely recommend you checking out our guides to improve your photography, but we can’t downplay how much phone camera has been enhanced over the last three years.

So, if you’re in the market for a new smartphone for photography, then this list is the perfect resource for you.

Best Quality Option – iPhone 11 Unlocked

Sale
LG V40 ThinQ 64GB T-Mobile Smartphone w/ 5-Cameras, 6.4" QHD+ Display - Aurora Black (Renewed)
  • 5 Cameras! 3 Rear (12MP Standard + 12MP Zoom + 16MP Wide-Angle + Dual-Front 'Selfie' Cameras).
  • AI Cameras feature 'Triple Shot' (1 click; 3 Pics), 'CINE' Shot (Transform snapshots into movable living photos).
  • DTS:X 3D Surround Sound BoomBox Speaker, Hi-Fi Quad-DAC
  • Google Assistant; Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
  • Stunning 6.4-inch QHD+ Display (OLED FullVision) at only 5.96oz!

Best Budget Option – Pixel 3a Unlocked

Sale
LG V40 ThinQ 64GB T-Mobile Smartphone w/ 5-Cameras, 6.4" QHD+ Display - Aurora Black (Renewed)
  • 5 Cameras! 3 Rear (12MP Standard + 12MP Zoom + 16MP Wide-Angle + Dual-Front 'Selfie' Cameras).
  • AI Cameras feature 'Triple Shot' (1 click; 3 Pics), 'CINE' Shot (Transform snapshots into movable living photos).
  • DTS:X 3D Surround Sound BoomBox Speaker, Hi-Fi Quad-DAC
  • Google Assistant; Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
  • Stunning 6.4-inch QHD+ Display (OLED FullVision) at only 5.96oz!

Best Deal Option – Galaxy S20 Unlocked

Sale
LG V40 ThinQ 64GB T-Mobile Smartphone w/ 5-Cameras, 6.4" QHD+ Display - Aurora Black (Renewed)
  • 5 Cameras! 3 Rear (12MP Standard + 12MP Zoom + 16MP Wide-Angle + Dual-Front 'Selfie' Cameras).
  • AI Cameras feature 'Triple Shot' (1 click; 3 Pics), 'CINE' Shot (Transform snapshots into movable living photos).
  • DTS:X 3D Surround Sound BoomBox Speaker, Hi-Fi Quad-DAC
  • Google Assistant; Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor
  • Stunning 6.4-inch QHD+ Display (OLED FullVision) at only 5.96oz!

Best Phone Camera Lenses for Action Photography

Best Deal Option - Moment Anamorphic Lens
Moment - Anamorphic Lens for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy and OnePlus Camera Phones
Best Quality Option - Beastgrip Anamorphic Lens
Pro Series - 1.33X Anamorphic Lens by Beastgrip for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus and Other Camera Phones
Best Budget Option - ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens
ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens Filmmaking Phone Camera Lens,Mobile Phone Widescreen Movie Lens by Filmic Pro App for iPhone 11 Pro Max Pixel Samsung Galaxy OnePlus Filmmakers Full Cinematic Video
$119.99
$175.00
$59.95
Best Deal Option - Moment Anamorphic Lens
Moment - Anamorphic Lens for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy and OnePlus Camera Phones
$119.99
Best Quality Option - Beastgrip Anamorphic Lens
Pro Series - 1.33X Anamorphic Lens by Beastgrip for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus and Other Camera Phones
$175.00
Best Budget Option - ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens
ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens Filmmaking Phone Camera Lens,Mobile Phone Widescreen Movie Lens by Filmic Pro App for iPhone 11 Pro Max Pixel Samsung Galaxy OnePlus Filmmakers Full Cinematic Video
$59.95

Can’t I just use my wide-angle lens for action photography on my phone?

Well, yes. But we would actually recommend using an anamorphic lens to capture that action photo. An anamorphic lens is designed to shoot video, so add it to a high fps (Frames per Second) capability phone, and the results will be killer.

And as we mentioned earlier, if you like action photography, then you should give videography a try. Typically the subjects of videography and action photography overlap a little bit.

An anamorphic lens – like any of those below – will give you the ability to shoot excellent action photography on your phone. Oh, and you can try phone videography too!

Best Deal Option – Moment Anamorphic Lens

Sale
Moment - Anamorphic Lens for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy and OnePlus Camera Phones
  • The Moment Anamorphic Lens works with iPhone, Pixel, Galaxy and OnePlus Phones. Compatible with the new Iphone11 (cases coming to Amazon soon). This product includes a lens, lens cap, microfiber bag and a hex tool.
  • This product REQUIRES you to purchase a Moment Case OR Battery Photo Case to attach the lens to your phone. Mounts over either lens on dual lens phones enabling nearly limitless creativity.
  • The Anamorphic lens is the holy grail of filmmaking. Sweet horizontal flares and that wide screen, letterboxes look. It’s 1.33x design brings the organic look and character of 2:40:1. it’s like shooting a wider focal length in the horizontal direction and a longer focal length in the vertical. Works with the Moment Pro Camera App to de-squeeze the image when shoot video and photos.
  • Moment makes the highest quality attachment lenses on the market. Made with aerospace grade metal and the same hand-polished glass used for high-end 4K film lenses.
  • We backup our products with a lifetime warranty, great customer service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee with free shipping and returns. Ask us how to get set up with a Moment gear guide.

Best Quality Option – Beastgrip Anamorphic Lens

Pro Series - 1.33X Anamorphic Lens by Beastgrip for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus and Other Camera Phones
  • Compatible with all smartphones when used with BEASTGRIP PRO or BEASTCAGE smartphone camera rigs.
  • 1.33X Anamorphic provides with a horizontal optical squeeze to achieve 2.4:1 aspect ratio in video and 16:9 aspect ratio in photos when desqueezed in the post or by using third-party camera apps with anamorphic lens support
  • Enhance your smartphone videos with horizontal lens flares, wider field of view with a more dramatic perspective, great sharpness and contrast across the whole frame
  • Multicoated cylindrical glass elements and machined aluminum body with 37mm threaded lens mount and 58mm front filter mount
  • WORRY FREE GUARANTEE - Backed up by 12 month warranty, great customer service, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Best Budget Option – ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens

ULANZI 1.33X Anamorphic Lens Filmmaking Phone Camera Lens,Mobile Phone Widescreen Movie Lens by Filmic Pro App for iPhone 11 Pro Max Pixel Samsung Galaxy OnePlus Filmmakers Full Cinematic Video
  • UNIVERSAL --- The anamorphic Lens works with iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy,Xiaomi,HTC,Nokia,LG,Motolora and OnePlus Google Phones. The product includes a lens, a aluminum clip, a EXTRA FREE lens bag.
  • CREATIVE --- The anamorphic lens is the holy grail of filmmaking. Sweet horizontal flares and that wide screen, letterboxes look. It’s 1.33x design brings the organic look and character of 2:4:1. it’s like shooting a wider focal length in the horizontal direction and a longer focal length in the vertical. Works with the Filmic Pro Camera App to de-squeeze the image when shoot video and photos.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY --- The anamorphic lenses is crafted with aluminum alloy and multi-element coated glass to minimize reflections, lens glare and other artifacts for superb clarity. Detachable soft rubber clip is easy to adjust and won't leave any scratches or marks on your devices.
  • EASY TO USE --- With universal clip, it is easy to assemble and use, you can use it on rig gimbal or any devices which suitable for your smartphone.
  • 17mm THREAD --- Universal clip can attach any 17mm thread phone Lens on your mobile phone.

Best Phone Handheld for Action Photography

Best Deal Option - UBeesize Tripod S
UBeesize Tripod S, Premium Phone Tripod, Flexible Tripod with Wireless Remote Shutter, Compatible with iPhone/Android Samsung, Mini Tripod Stand Holder for Camera GoPro/Mobile Cell Phone (Upgraded)
Best Budget Option - UBeesize Phone Tripod 51" Adjustable
UBeesize Phone Tripod, 51" Adjustable Travel Video Tripod Stand with Cell Phone Mount Holder & Smartphone Bluetooth Remote, Compatible with iPhone/Android (Black)
Best Quality Option - Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal
Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer, Upgraded Phone Gyro Stabilizer Vlog Tripod w/Focus Pull&Zoom for iPhone Xs Max X/8 Plus/7/SE Samsung Galaxy S9+/S8/S7 etc Mobiles (Black)
Cost
$17.99
$27.99
$99.00
Star Rating
Best Deal Option - UBeesize Tripod S
UBeesize Tripod S, Premium Phone Tripod, Flexible Tripod with Wireless Remote Shutter, Compatible with iPhone/Android Samsung, Mini Tripod Stand Holder for Camera GoPro/Mobile Cell Phone (Upgraded)
Cost
$17.99
Star Rating
Best Budget Option - UBeesize Phone Tripod 51" Adjustable
UBeesize Phone Tripod, 51" Adjustable Travel Video Tripod Stand with Cell Phone Mount Holder & Smartphone Bluetooth Remote, Compatible with iPhone/Android (Black)
Cost
$27.99
Star Rating
Best Quality Option - Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal
Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer, Upgraded Phone Gyro Stabilizer Vlog Tripod w/Focus Pull&Zoom for iPhone Xs Max X/8 Plus/7/SE Samsung Galaxy S9+/S8/S7 etc Mobiles (Black)
Cost
$99.00
Star Rating

When it comes to choosing a phone handheld for action photography, you’re going to have to decide on what it is you want to shoot.

Actually, you’re going to have to decide how you want to shoot what you want to shoot.

To explain, if you’re shooting B-Roll for an indoor vlog, then a tripod works for you. You don’t need to move quickly enough to have a gimbal.

If, on the other hand, you’re shooting snowboarders, then you’re going to have to be able to hold the camera steady as you shred down a mountain behind them!

Maybe, in that case, the extra help from the gimbal’s auto-stabilization technology would be worth it.

Best Deal Option – UBeesize Tripod S

Sale
UBeesize Tripod S, Premium Phone Tripod, Flexible Tripod with Wireless Remote Shutter, Compatible with iPhone/Android Samsung, Mini Tripod Stand Holder for Camera GoPro/Mobile Cell Phone (Upgraded)
  • 【All Upgraded】This new small bendy tripod is a full update to our best-selling phone tripod in US market. It is upgraded in both material and structure for TOP-GRADE performance. By 10.6 inch, UBeesize Tripod S is one of the tallest cell phone tripods on the market, giving a greater possibility of wider applications.
  • 【Durability For Years】Flexible OCTOPUS style legs are made of thicker premium metal and full metal connector, reinforced with coating rubber and compact foam. It is rigged to the greatest degree to handle the wear and tear of everyday explorations or the rigor of adventure.
  • 【Increased Stability】A high grade metal ball joint supports phone/camera up to 1kg, it locks the heaviest smartphone into position securely. And Non-slip feet design keeps this adjustable tripod steady on virtual ground surface.
  • 【Selfie Mode Made Possible】A wireless remote control allows you take shots (portrait and landscape) from a distance of up to 30 feet, perfect for taking selfies, group photos, filming, vlogging and steady tripod shots.
  • 【Universal Phone Mount Adapter】Works for smartphones up to 3.54 inch wide like iPhone 8/8 Plus/X/7 Plus/7/6s Plus/6s/6 Plus/6 and Samsung. By a standard adaptor screw thread, it is compatible with digital cameras like Nikon/Canon, DSLR, GoPro (GoPro adapters Included).

Best Budget Option – UBeesize Phone Tripod 51

UBeesize Phone Tripod, 51" Adjustable Travel Video Tripod Stand with Cell Phone Mount Holder & Smartphone Bluetooth Remote, Compatible with iPhone/Android (Black)
  • 【Stable & Reliable】Similar to the professional camera tripod, UBeesize tripod legs stretch out from the top and unfold up to 15" away from the vertical center, it is stable enough to support the heaviest smartphones or small cameras up to 2.2 lbs.
  • 【Compact & Lightweight】Weighs only 1.05 lbs, UBeesize tripod can be folded to 16" short to slip into your suitcase or backpack, plus a portable travel bag makes it very suitable for outdoor, travel shooting.
  • 【3-Way Pan Head with Level Bubble】It has separate lock controls for every movement of the head, panning, tilting, and movement from horizontal to vertical camera orientation. With a convenient handle and built-in bubble level for smooth panning, it helps get amazing panorama every time.
  • 【Adjustable Height with Flip Lock】4 sections column legs with quick release lever-locks allows you to adjust the working height from 16" to 50" in seconds, it is fast to set up/take down and will fit various shooting environments and photographic needs.
  • 【Universal Phone Mount & Bluetooth Remote】The spring-loaded phone holder can extend up 3.94" to fit most smartphones with a case. (Please reach us for wider phone holder if your cellphone doesn't fit in). The wireless remote pairs with your mobile via Bluetooth so you can take photos/video from 30ft/10m away.

Best Quality Option – Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal

Sale
Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer, Upgraded Phone Gyro Stabilizer Vlog Tripod w/Focus Pull&Zoom for iPhone Xs Max X/8 Plus/7/SE Samsung Galaxy S9+/S8/S7 etc Mobiles (Black)
  • 【SMOOTH 4 and FiLMiC Pro Collaboration】Zhiyun Smooth 4 handheld smartphone gimbal stabilizer now compatible with Filmic Pro app. It turns your mobile phone into a professional filmmaking camera more easier than before. Create stable and smooth footage with your smartphone. How amazing it is! Recording every touching moment and enjoy the colorful and wonderful life. Zhiyun smooth 4 gimbal born for Mobile filmmakers!
  • 【Tips for Using Smooth 4 Gimbal】Please BALANCE the GIMBAL in power off status before startting it and upgrade the firmware/ZY Play app to the newest version. Watching the tutorial videos on youtu be would be much helpful. For android users, please know that some features of standard ZY play version would limit, you can use Filmic Pro as an alternative to ZY play
  • 【Making your own Smooth Videos】Focus Pull & Zoom Capability: smoothly zoom in/out the footage and create more diverse images by rotating its unique follow focus handwheel; Time Lapse Expert: Smooth 4 can realize features such as Timelapse, moving time lapse and Motionlapse, recording lives and displaying the art of time flow; Object Tracking: You can frame the object you want to track on the screen and the stabilizer can do the rest
  • 【Professional Technology upgrade】New Control Panel Design :Hot Keys Design for Instant Controls can reduce the need to touch the screen; PhoneGo Mode for Instant Scene Transition: By simply triggering the button on the back, Smooth 4 release the potential of motors in a flash which can respond to every delicate movement without delay; Two-way Charging with Longer Runtime: Smooth 4 can run for 12 hours in a row
  • 【Mobile Gimbal born for Fimakers】Shooting has never been so easy, but now we have Smooth 4! Smooth 4 is versatile in different environments, releasing the potential of phone camera anywhere, anytime. What are you waiting for! Just add it to cart and make your own professional movies ASAP

Last update on 2020-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API