When you are planning to take an action shot in advance, get educated about the subject matter. You cannot take a good shot of something that is moving if you don't understand the types of movement involved. Learn about the movements of the subject matter and it will show in your photos.
Take your pictures quickly. The longer you hesitate, the better the chance that your subject will move away, break their pose, or become tired and stop smiling. Start taking shots as quickly as you can, and don't worry about getting the camera perfect before the first shot. The faster you shoot and the more photos you take, the better your chances are of getting a good one.
One of the key ways to take great photographs is to take lots and lots of them, so buy a large memory card that can hold them all. By increasing the size of the memory card that you use in your camera, you are increasing the number of photos that you can take before changing cards. A large card will also allow you to use RAW format so you can take advantage of the additional flexibility it offers.
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