Movement photography: camera panning techniques to convey a sense of speed

Movement photography: camera panning techniques to convey a sense of speed

How to choose the best shutter speed for your movement photography

How to choose the best shutter speed for your movement photography

Choosing the right shutter speed for panning shots in which you want the main subject to be sharp relies on several factors. The quicker the subject, the faster the required shutter speed, but remember it must be sufficiently slow to blur the background.

You’ll need a faster shutter speed if the subject is moving at an angle to you, rather than perpendicular to you. You also need a higher shutter speed the closer the subject is to your position, because this makes its speed relative to you much greater.

As a rough guide, try using 1/60 to 1/250 sec for fast-moving subjects such as racing cars on a straight, or 1/250 to 1/500 sec for the same subject moving at an angle.

Slower subjects such as bikes can be shot at around 1/30 to 1/60 sec unless very close, in which case you’ll need to a faster shutter speed.

For most panned shots you’ll want to keep your subject sharp, but you could go for a more abstract look by choosing a much slower shutter speed and blurring the whole image.

If you’re going for a more abstract image, you still need to be able to recognise the subject, so try experimenting with the amount of blur that you can get away with.

PAGE 1: What is panning?
PAGE 2: 3 simple steps to panning like a pro
PAGE 3: How to choose the best shutter speed for movement photography
PAGE 4: Final tips for taking successful panning photos

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