Are you struggling with shutter speeds? Are your backgrounds sharp and cars look like they’re still, or everything is all blurred?
To create a sense of speed and movement, you’ll need to use relatively slow shutter speeds of about 1/60 to 1/90 seconds. Meanwhile, keeping the cars sharp while blurring the background requires good panning technique. To do this, spread your feet fairly wide apart, standing at right angles to the point you want to shoot. Then swivel your hips, rather than your shoulders, following the car as it moves and carry on panning for as long as possible, even after releasing the shutter.
Another neat trick is to set your drive mode to Continuous and fire a burst of shots so you stand more chance of getting one or two sharp images from a sequence. Even with the best technique and plenty of practice, the majority of panned shots using slow shutter speeds are likely to be unusable, so stock up on memory cards and shoot as many pictures as you can to be sure of some keepers.
Step 1: Use Shutter Priority
Switch to Shutter Priority mode and dial in a shutter speed of about 1/60 sec, checking that the aperture is within range of the lens. You may need a Neutral Density filter if the sun is very bright.
Step 2: Image stabilisation
Many lenses feature manually selectable or automatically detected panning modes. Image stabilisation technology applies anti-shake in the opposite plane to the direction of your movement.
Step 3: Pre-focus
Continuous autofocus will often be too slow to track fast-moving targets coming towards you. Switch to single focus and pre-focus on the piece of track into which the cars are moving.