Backpacker Photo School: Continuous Shooting

Sometimes it's hard to capture a photo of exactly the right moment in time. Get the best shot, by shooting on continuous mode. Keep reading to learn how.

Pictures with a bunch of people jumping are so fun to make and show off, but it can be a challenge to get that moment when everyone's in the air. If your friends lack coordination, this technique won't help. If the problem is knowing when to press the shutter though, here’s the way to do it. Set your camera to the continuous shooting or burst mode. Push the shutter button before takeoff, and hold until the jump is over, and you’ll get a selection of shots to choose from.

Usually the continuous shooting mode is found near the self-timer in the camera menus. The icon looks like a stack of photos on top of each other. Often this can be founding by pushing the function button and then selecting the shooting mode. An example of the menu on one camera is below. It gives the options for high or low speed continuous shooting. 

Every camera with continuous shooting is going to shoot at a slightly different speed. The Frames Per Second is something to look at when you’re deciding which camera to buy. If you’re planning to shoot a lot of fast action, a higher FPS might be priority. If it’s rare that you’re trying to shoot fast action, this rate might not matter as much to you.

Here’s another way to use continuous shooting. If the action is moving through the photo, for example a person jumping off a high cliff, or a skier coming down the mountain, you can shoot continuously and then pull the person from each shot and put them together into one image. On a weekend spent in town instead of on trail, I used continuous shooting mode at a skateboard park and got a sequence of images that my husband edited together into one photo.

Try it out this weekend for practice, whether you’re in town or on trail, so that when the perfect trail moment comes you know how to switch to continuous shooting and get the shot.

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–Genny Fullerton

Images by Jonathan Dorn (top); Genny Fullerton (2)