Thursday, November 10, 2011

How To Photograph Fast Moving Subjects Using Panning

Panning implies speed and motion without blurring your subject. 

In the images below notice how the race cars are clear and crisp but the rest of the image is blurred to show the motion of the race cars. This effect was accomplished by panning. Panning can be used with any fast moving object.

In order to pan successfully set your camera on a slow shutter speed and follow your subject’s movement and match it’s speed and direction as perfectly as possible. The faster your subject is moving the more difficult it is to pan. Panning requires lots of practice.

Tips for Successful Panning:

Panning requires a steady hand and a fairly slow shutter speed.
The actual shutter speed depends on the speed of the subject but usually it will be 1/200th or slower. 1/200th if your subject is really zipping along, like these speeding cars, and perhaps as slow as 1/40th of a second if your subject is a runner on a track.

ACURA by e_walk

When you’re first learning how to pan, don’t slow your shutter down too much.  Just keep it slow enough to begin to show some motion. As your confidence increases and your images start to look good, go ahead and slow your shutter more and more to show even greater motion. This will separate your speeding subject from the background.

Make sure your subject remains in the same portion of the frame during the entire exposure. This will guarantee a crisp, sharp subject.

It’s difficult to keep your subject in the same portion of the frame if it’s moving faster than you are. Start with something fairly slow and advance from there. Again – lots of practice.

When I first tried my hand at panning, I went to a park that had a beautiful old merry-go-‘round. I practiced photographing the horses as they made their stately and gracefully circles. They were moving at just the right speed for a beginner.

Most importantly - have fun learning this new skill. You will succeed!

Check out my prior post on photographing fast moving subjects and how to keep the entire scene in sharp focus. 

All photos above are distributed under the Creative Commons License. Thank you to the photographers for allowing their images to be used by others.

We'd love to see your photos showing panning or sharp focus photography. Post them in your comments section. Open a comments box, click on the + symbol in the left corner and follow directions. 

Happy clicking!


Mari Bruins said...

Amazing shots!  Thanks for this tutorial - I'll be trying it!

Simran kaur said...

You're amazing my dear :)

Team G square said...

Nice tips should try this sometime .

SyedAlfandiSyedMansor said...

something that I have to

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

This is a fun one!

bod for tea said...

Brilliant advice as always! Definitely going to try giving this a go :D

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Happy to know this will help you.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

The photos aren't mine, but the tutorial is :)

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

I bet you'd love this and be really good at it!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

With DD on the move I do think this will come in handy :)