Have you ever wanted to capture great action photographs but always seem to come up with mediocre images? Want to know how to pan properly? Well, here is how you do it.
Slow shutter speeds are great for blurring moving objects. They are not, however, that good if you want to keep the subject sharp whilst blurring the background simultaneously. The solution is quite simple.
Take your camera off the tripod and attempt to follow the movement of the subject with the camera whilst keeping the subject in the same position in the viewfinder during the exposure. This panning technique works best when the movement is smooth from left to right, or from right to left, like in sports. The blurred background you acquire creates a greater sense of movement compared to a perfectly sharp image.
To get panning right takes some practice. You need to experiment with shutter speeds, but a rough guide is that fast moving subjects like cars need shutter speeds of around 1/125 second, and slow moving subjects need shutter speeds of around an eighth of a second. To capture people cycling past on bikes you will need shutter speeds of around 1/60 second.
You need to practice until you can move your camera smoothly and consistently, whilst keeping the subject as sharp as possible.
It is quite to get your panning right every time. It just needs practice, patience, and a strong desire to succeed.
About the Author:
Chris Smith is a photography expert and writer for an online magazine.