Panning in Photography (Guest Post)


In my previous post, I discussed the concept of shutter speed and the basic settings to use. Normally, one would use a fast shutter speed such as 880, or 1000 or more, for fast-moving subjects. An example of this is in sports photography. When shooting subjects with slower movements, or none at all, a photographer can use slower shutter speeds. An example of these photos would be a portrait or landscape.

There are times, however, when a photographer may want to use a slower shutter speed with fast-moving subjects to convey the feeling of motion. Photographers can do this by using a technique known as panning.

How to Pan with Your Camera

To pan, a photographer follows a subject with his camera as the subject passes by and uses a slow shutter speed. This keeps the subject relatively sharp and blurs the background and other objects that may be moving.

Panning brings a creative balance to a photograph. The feeling of motion is emphasized (and not lost as it would be with a fast shutter speed) and the integrity of the subject is maintained.

Take Lots of Pictures!

It’s important to remember when panning to take lots of photos; it takes a lot of images to get one good one.

In the sample photographs below, the photograph of the kids sledding used a shutter speed of 1/320 of a second. The photograph of the man on the bike used a shutter speed of 1/40 of a second. The close up photograph of the man on the bike showing just his legs used a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second.

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The Series:

Meet e4e author, and professional photographer, Pat Mingarelli and read Pat’s posts on e4e.

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