Expressing Motion with Still Photography
In an effort to continue creating more interesting and engaging still photographs, I recently practiced panning. Panning is a technique that still photographers use to evoke the feeling of motion in a non-moving image. When done right it’s amazing. When done wrong, it’s just a blurry photograph.
The images in this post are all from my panning practice session and I wanted to share what I learned.
Panning Photography: 10 Things I Learned
- My panning photographs are blurry
- It’s harder than it looks but with practice it will get easier
- Practice following subjects through your viewfinder to match their speed
- The “best” images from the session were the ones where the subject was directly in front of the camera
- You need to play with your shutter speed depending on how fast your subject is moving i.e. – cars, bikes, runners
- You can’t be too close to your subject
- Longer lenses work better
- Keep an open mind i.e. – don’t get too frustrated
- I’m not quite there yet so I need to keep at it
- Don’t point your camera at police cars
Adorama TV has a great video tutorial if you’re interested in learning more about this still photography technique.
I was surprised by the photos where the subject was either moving toward me or away from me. The effect was similar to what you see with a tilt and shift lens creating a miniature feel.
Obviously these images aren’t good (read – still blurry), but they’re getting there. The important lesson I took from this practice session is that any steps I take toward improving the images I create are worthwhile if the end result are more interesting photographs.
So, I’ll keep practicing. In the meantime, I’d love to hear/see anyone else’s experience with panning and if they have any constructive input. Thanks in advance!