We are nearing the end of photo assignment #3 (this was announced a few podcasts ago)- Your task is to show motion, but no flowing water.


Assignment #3 is due by 12pm EDT 6/30/14 – paste a link to your flickr/500px as a comment or watch for the call on Facebook.


We recently had a brainstorming session on Facebook with some of the options including panning with cars (or planes) in the example below, people walking, kids running and oh so much more – be creative, think outside the box ­čÖé


Screenshot 2014-06-25 11.29.22
Roy share this cool panning shot he took last week


Panning is one way to show motion and I thought I would give you some quick tips.

Panning is the act of moving your camera with a subject – see example above. ┬áThe trick is to find the right shutter speed that blurs the background but still lets you get your subject in sharp focus. It will take practice and your keeper rate when shooting panning shots is going to go down.

  1. Set your camera on the fastest burst rate you have available.  The more shots you take in a panning series the more likely you will get one that works.
  2. Set your shutter speed (see table below) and determine your exposure. Avoid situations where your exposure is going to change greatly over the pan- if it is consider using Auto ISO.
  3. Pre focus on the spot your subject will be passing through, you can wait and focus on slower moving subjects but anything moving faster than a brisk walk is going to give you fewer chances for focus AND a good series of shots.
  4. Determine the point of your subject you will track and use one of your focus points as a guide to keep your camera aimed at the same location. Eyes are great point for tracking, or a wheel – keep your target small!
  5. Start(anticipate and start moving before your subject enters the frame) and end your pan in one smooth motion while shooting a burst of images. – This smooth motion increases your chances of getting a sharp shot. ┬áAs you move try to minimize your movement, just twist on your hips keeping everything else steady.
  6. Don’t trust your LCD- Your subject can look in focus on that small screen- zoom all the way in and check at your point of focus.


Screenshot 2014-06-25 11.41.42


Got more tips for panning shots? Leave them in the comments below. ┬áThis isn’t the ONLY way to show motion – just one that I shared a few tips on.

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  1. Hi Toby and Christina,

    I have created a set of nine photos taken for Photo Assignment #3 – Motion on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maf9676566/sets/72157644991674097

    Please choose one of them for your critique. I attended a couple baseball games and took some pictures of passing trains (no panning shots – at least none that were successful!). I had fun playing with shutter speeds – for the baseball games I found that the bat and runners started to disappear if the shutter speed got too slow. The ball games were in the evening which made it a challenge to use the desired shutter speeds with my 18-135 and 55-250 STM lenses without the ISO going too high.

    I’m looking forward to your critique!


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