mandarin tense question?

how do you state a continuous action?

I know the following:
Ta pai zhoapian means ‘he takes pictures’
Ta pai le zhaopian means ‘he took pictures’

how do I say ‘he’s taking pictures’ ?

also, I’m confused over when to use ‘shi… de’ when talking about the past. Is that like the use of ‘am’,’ are’ or ‘ was’ in english?

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