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November 27, 2013

How to take awesome Action Shots on your Nokia Lumia 1020

We’re always raving about Nokia Pro Cam and all it’s controllability here on Nokia Conversations, so you can imagine our excitement when the new Nokia Camera app launched combing the best of Nokia Pro Cam and Nokia Smart Cam.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at the best way to use these features to get the most awesome shots on your Nokia Lumia 1020. To kick off we’re going to have a quick look at the endlessly entertaining Action Shooting mode.

A little bit of history….

ghost baby_ghost_famous_ghost_picture_photo_383-501x3481

Yeah, we often like to start these blogs with a momentary glance backwards. Hopefully it provides a useful platform for seeing from where certain technologies grow and also reminds us that whilst digital is great (and getting greater all the time), many of our ‘new’ toys have their antecedents in film technology.

Double or even multiple exposures have always been possible on film cameras. The more manual, or controllable the camera, the easier this process was. However, it was also often an accidental occurrence where either an entire film was not properly rewound and thus used twice or a single frame had not wound on, thus exposing the negative twice. (Many ‘ghost’ and UFO photos were made – deliberately or otherwise – in exactly this way).

Here’s one happy accident I had with a film camera. The first shot is the Millenium New Year’s Eve party and the second shot is cooking lunch the following day. Random indeed…




Now that we’re nearly all immersed in the digital world, this process of numerous exposures on a single frame is even easier and far, far more controllable. And on the Nokia Lumia 1020 it’s about as easy to use as the function can possible be!

Picking Your Moment

Although the ‘Action Shot’ will work in any situation, the ‘cleanest’ results are those with a single moving element. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get interesting results when there’s lots of movement, but rather that the final shot may become a very busy affair!


Created with Nokia Smart Cam


Look for plain backgrounds in order to focus attention on the moving part and keep the phone still so that that the background remains constant. Five seconds can be a difficult amount of time to judge in order to fill the frame with motion, so practice with friends on a repeatable action. (Such as the basketball lay-up). That will help give you better judgement when photographing ‘real time’ action of an unplanned event.

Firstly, find a subject where one element is static and one (or more) elements are in motion. Put Nokia Camera app into smart mode and press the shutter. The camera will take ten photographs in approximately 4-5 seconds. The circle in the centre of the frame will give you an idea of how much time is taken and how much is still to go.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Then click on the circle icon in the top righthand corner and select‘Action Shot’. This will display all ten photographs overlaid in one image.

00 Vil 2 with arrows


The photo above shows all ten exposures, as indicated by the solid white dots underneath the image. However, there will be times when this is simply too much information! But unlike with film, where you were stuck with what you got, now you can go back and edit the image. You can deselect any one of the shots in order to get a less cluttered picture.

00 Vil 1 arrows

Fade Out

And if you want to keep all ten shots, but to either focus on one element of the action or simply lessen the chaos, then you can select the fade option. This will ghost out nine of the ten images.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

You can also choose which of the ten shots is the most important and have the image fade out from that particular shot, (whether that is beginning, middle or end).

Lumia 1020

This shows the fade function with all ten shots selected and the focus of the image being the last shot. (The circled solid white dot).


Not only is this a great and fun way to make images, it also can act as a brilliant training tool for sports, since it shows all the body positions and movement that the person goes through. What better excuse do you need to give it a go! And if you’ve already been enjoying Action Shot, we’d love to hear your tips and see your photos down below.