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Panning — The Art Of Motion Photography!

Panning is an interesting art of photography. It has been there since ages but it still excites many photographers. It gives the right feel of motion to your pictures. Panning works best for sports and motion photography or when you want to depict a motion or movement in your subject while keeping it sharp and focused.

Panning basically means you click the picture of a moving subject while you move your camera with the subject. You get the subject clear but the background is blurred. This technique works best for photographing the racing car or a motorist.

It’s not that easy as it sounds; but then rewards are high. It requires you to pan your camera along with the subject. And yes, the speed of the subject matters. If your subject is moving too fast and you fail to catch up with it, you will end up with a frame capturing just the blurs. For this, you need to practice the art of panning — pick up your camera, select a slower shutter speed and follow the action.

Panning — Step By Step Guide

Here are 3 quick steps to experiment with the technique of capturing sharp images of moving object.

  1. Slow Shutter Speed

    Set your camera on a slow shutter speed like 1/40 or 1/30. You need the slow shutter speed to blur the background while moving the camera. Experiment with various shutter speeds — while 1/40 is good for photographing an athlete or a cyclist, you can boost it up to /100 or more if shooting a speedy car. You can set up the camera on a tripod or a monopod as shooting hand held at slower shutter speeds can blur the subject as well.

  2. Focus On The Subject

    Stand on the side of the road (best place to practice with the moving traffic). Decide on a point in the middle of the road, in front of you, where you adjust your focus. Lock the focus on the subject, this will ensure that the focus is on the subject while you pan the camera.

  3. Capture The Shot

    Select a motorist or a car and keeping it in your view you rotate the camera with it. The moment you reach the point where you have set the focus, shoot your picture but keep the camera fixed on the subject.

For best results set the lens focusing mode to continuous (in case of auto focus tracking) and take multiple shots.

This needs a lot of practice, but it gets more exciting as you get better and better. After all it’s fun to experiment with panning!

Keep clicking and post your comments about the experience. I’m sure this is a first for many.

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7 comments… add one
  • So that’s how it’s done, huh? I’ll try it out first thing tomorrow morning! :) I’ve always wondered how photographers capture moving objects … and I have tried experimenting with how it’s supposed to be done … but I somehow have never been able to get it right. I guess it has a lot to do with how I stop moving my camera after I have taken the shot.

    Thanks for the tips! :)

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