Motion Photography For Visual Impact

One of the challenges we face as photographers is how to convey movement in a still, two-dimensional photograph, and one of the answers is to use image blur. In motion photography, achieving appropriate blur is the key to communicating a sense of movement, even producing works with an abstract art quality. However, blurring presents a whole range of technical challenges that must be met end solved.

A good photographer should understand what to blur and how much to blur in order to create their visual masterpiece. When done well, the technique can be applied to various subjects such as animals, sports and events. There are two ways motion blur can be achieved: through a moving subject, or a moving camera – but not a shaking camera though! Here are some vital tips and techniques to capture motion or create the illusion of movement:

Slow Shutter Speed

To create motion blur, a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second to 2 seconds would suffice in most situations, when you’re shooting this slowly, you’ll need to mount your camera on a to pod or your shot will be ruined by camera shake, as conditions vary constantly, it’ll take practice and experimentation to successfully render and capture perfect motion blur photographs.

Control The Light

The slower your shutter speed, the more light enters the camera, but this may cause overexposure, especially during day shoots. To compensate, increase your aperture setting to decrease the amount of light coming through your lens. The larger the f/stop, the less light comes through the lens. For example, a setting of f/1.4 lets in more light than f/8.

The other way to decrease the amount of light is to lower your ISO sensitivity. The lower the ISO setting, the less sensitive your camera will be to light, if none of these techniques work for you, try fitting a neutral density filter onto your lens. This reduces the light passing through.

Pan, Zoom, Spin

Panning is the technique of track¬ing a moving subject; it creates a relatively sharp image of the subject while producing a blurred background and looks especially great in sports photography.
To pan, select a slow shutter speed, stand facing where you’ll want to shoot the subject, and then rotate your upper body to face where the subject is coming from, while keeping your feet firmly planted. Keep your elbows tucked in, and smoothly rotate your upper body, moving the camera and keeping your subject in the same position in the frame. When your sub¬ject hits the spot you want to shoot, gently depress the shutter button, and keep panning with the subject as your shutter opens and closes.
If the subject is stationary, ‘moving’ the camera by means of a zoom dur¬ing long exposure, or even spinning it while it’s mounted on a tripod car create amazing results.

Rear Flashing Action

When set to Rear Curtain mode, your built-in flash adds to your blur-creation toolbox. In Rear Curtain (or Rear sync) Mode, your flash files only at the end of the exposure, just as the shutter is about to close. This allows your camera to capture the background, and freeze your subject the moment the flash fires, creating action streaks which appear behind the subject. This technique is especially useful when coupled with panning, and can be used outdoors in daylight as well as in low light conditions.
One of the ways to make your motion blur look even stronger is to include contrast between your moving subject and elements that aren’t moving. Flowing Water appears faster when photographed against static rocks; a runner looks faster against people who aren’t running.

Be prepared for what is going to happen, especially concerning the direction and path of your subject focus and do not allow distracting elements to enter your image frame. Instead of just depressing the shutter and hoping to catch a good shot, anticipating the action will increase the odds of creating a stunning image. Do research beforehand on your subject and scout the location earlier for good shooting spots.