One of the coolest things I learned about my camera (I shot these with a Canon Rebel XTI and a 50mm prime lense), is how to capture action and keeping the focus where you want it. This is great for composition...after all you don't always want what's exactly in the middle of your photo in focus, sometime you want the subject in focus to be off center, right? But how do you do that?
This is it in a nutshell...
I depress my shutter half-way until the camera has focused on the subject, then I can move the camera to reframe the shot in any way I want, holding onto the shutter half-way. Once I depress the shutter fully, the original subject that I focused on will still be in focus.
I captured this shot of my son walking into the gates of school on his first day of Kindergarten. LOVE, love this photo...however, do you notice how the wall is in focus and my son is blurry and really this should be the other way around? Perhaps I was feeling emotional about sending my baby into the great big world for his first day of school and forgot to focus on him first, reframe the shot and the shoot? Perhaps...
In any case, I'm still a little crabby about that and this year when he walks through that gate headed to first grade I'll know to start my focus on HIM!
GOOD EXAMPLE #1 - The Swing
Catching someone mid-motion takes practice. Fortunately my son loves this swing and I get plenty of practice taking action photos!
For this shot, I depressed the shutter half-way to focus on his face and then moved my camera back and forth with the motion of him on the swing until I got the shot I wanted and depressed the shutter fully. No motion blur!
GOOD EXAMPLE #2 - The Jump
The lighting was perfect in this location, lots of open shade and a fun stump to jump off. As he was preparing for the jump, I focused on his face and then moved the camera with him when he jumped to frame the picture...and then snapped.
GOOD EXAMPLE #3 - The Jump with Action Blur
For this shot I didn't move the camera with her motion and you can see that her face is focused but her hand that was moving is blurred slightly. Perfectly acceptable to have action blur...in the right places of course. You don't often want everything else in focus and the face to be blurry.
Pull out your camera's manual (or do an online search) and read up on this, it's a basic technique that just takes a bit of practice to get right!