How to bring Motion in your Photography
Motion in photography, or Motion Blur as it’s been called too, has to do with visualizing some kind of motion in your photos. We all know the beautiful shots made at sport events such as football, soccer and motor of car racing, but motion in your photography has a far greater range than only sport photography. Motion in Photography should not be confused with blurred pictures, that are the result of accidentally bad focussing.
Motion in photography – in my humble opinion – is about expressing impressions, something to set our fantasy free, more than recording a moment of truth in time. It’s like painting with light, because that’s what photography is about, catching the light in a lens and reproducing a picture. There are several ways to get motion in your Photography:
1. Motion Blur = photographing a moving object.
2. Panning = moving your camera along with the moving object.
3. Abstract Photography = moving the camera when taking a photo.
I’ll give you examples of all three methods.
The photo in this intro was made at night on an natural ice skating track in our local village. I used method 3, I moved my camera.
Copyright to all photographs, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman
I must confess
I don’t always follow the rules that are set for photography
I am an amateur photographer and I must confess that I’m not always following the rules that are set for photography. I know what shutter speed is and aperture, but most of the time I don’t bother, set my camera to automatic and focus on the things I want to shoot. Never understood where that phrase ‘shoot a picture’ came from. “Nice shot” they say, as if I had just killed something.
Anyway all the tech stuff I will mention in here, don’t pay too much attention to it. I’m a lousy teacher and you better buy a good book if you awnt to follow rules. (I’ll show you some books). Too much tech stuff can kill your fantasy is my opinion, but I’m probably just saying that because I can’t handle all that tech stuff myself. I really don’t mind if a photograph isn’t perfect in a technical way, I care much more about what a photo does to me, how it affect and influence my feelings and imagination.
So I will tell you in my own words what I know and then I’ll provide you with links to sites where photographers will tell you about motion in photography much more detailed.
1. Motion Blur
The object is moving and your camera is steady
Playing with your Shutter speed
When you hold your camera steady and take a photo of a moving object, you have to play around with the shutter speed in order to get some motion in your picture. A short shutter speed will not show any or at least little movement. You have to leave your lens open for a longer time to catch some of the motion. I found this lovely Magazine on the Internet, showing you about 45 photos in motion blur Smashing Magazine
The longer your lens is open to light, the more difficult it will be to keep your camera steady to get a sharp shot, so for this kind of motion blur photography, you at least need a tripod or a monopod to make sure your camera is not moving. Besides that, a long time frame of light in your lens, may cause your picture to be overexposed so you might have to do something about the aperture. The larger it is set the more light will enter, so you might want to adjust that and lower the aperture. Then there’s the ISO (sensitivity to light). A high ISO is more sensitve to light and might bring too much noise in the picture. So for taking a motion blur picture you might choose a lower ISO.
I took the photo above a few years ago, when the lambs of my very rare and old Dutch sheep breed Drenthen Heath sheep had their 15 minutes crazy time in the meadow. They always do that when their moms are getting fed. It isn’t a quality photo at all, you can clearly see that I didn’t use a tripod, but it sure gives the impression of speed.
Tripods and Monopods
You might need a Tripod or a Monopod to make Motion Blur Photos.
I must confess again that I don’t like to work with a tripod or monopod, but that’s me, it’s just too much to carry along. So I can’t really recommend one to you because I don’t want to tell a lie.
If you want one of these items, just look at the reviews and decide for yourself which one would suit you best.
Dog in Motion Blur – Dixie loves to play with water
Dog in Motion – Our Tipper likes to jump
I photoshopped an existing photo with PaintShopPro
This photo is not a moving camera photo. I made this one with my Paint Shop Pro photo editing program, using an old photo of a regiment of WW2 local horse riders. I got it from an old ex colleage, because he was one of the riders. It was a small photo and he loved to have it in A3 format so I made it for him and he gave me permission to make one for myself too. He passed away long time ago, so I keep this photo on my study wall as a remembrance to a lovely old man.
Well, in order to make some motion photos, you’ll need a camera.
I work solely with my Sony Cybershot DSC-F717. It’s an old camera but I love it. I do have a Nikon D5000 but I hardly use that one, though it’s one of the finest cameras made. I don’t know why, but I always grab my Sony.
I selected a Sony camera for you, but of course you’re free to roam around on Amazon.
Moving the Camera along with the object
Object is focussed, background is blurry
You need a steady hand for panning. This panning causes the object to be sharp, but the background blurry, indicating that the object is moving fast. This kind of motion blur is mostly used in Sport and Motor and Car racing.
Panning needs a long shutterspeed too and during that time frame you move your camera along with the object, keeping the object on the same spot in your frame. I haven’t mastered that skill enough yet to get something worthwhile showing here, so I used a photo that I found on Wikipedia – panning were you can read more about panning.
Cow Motion Panning – This is the closest I’ve come to Panning
3. Abstract Photography:
Moving the camera fast when taking the photo
Object steady/dead, Camera moving
This method is my favorite, though I haven’t explored all the ins and outs yet. Most of the time I’m just playing with the camera.
Moving the camera is not moving it in the way of panning, but moving it fast up and down or left to right or circle it at the moment you take the photo. You can play with fast shutterspeed, low shutterspeed, aperture, ISO, the whole circus.
Camera Motion often leads to Abstract Photography, a form of photography that I like very much.
The photo above I made some years ago, while driving home, I had to stop for a red light and there was this beautiful sunset left of me, so I took my camera and moved it quickly left to right and vice versa while clicking and this came out. As I remember, the black ‘cloudy’ part was smoke from a big factory.
Few more examples of how I used the motion blur in my photography
Once I found this lovely wayang at a fleemarket in Belgium and I fell in love with it immediately.
It’s a beautiful piece of handcraft and it’s originally made of leather and though it hasn’t any significant worth moneywise, I still think it’s a beautiful piece of art.
It’s amazing how they’ve cut out the fine paterns in the headdress , must have been a hell of a job, done by someone with a lot of patience.
I used it for motion blur too and added some Paint Shop Pro work afterwards. You have unlimited possibilities in this digital era.
Wayang Puppet Performance
The Wayang Puppet finds its origine in Indonesia where the puppets were used in a special ‘shadow puppet’ performance. It’s fascinating to watch such a performance with Wayang Puppets.
An Impression of Passion
At one time the local Salsa Dancing Group asked our photography club members to take some photos on one of their Salsa Dancing Nights.
I went there with two photography friends and actually I expected to see some vivid and colorful South American explosion, but all we saw was a bunch of ordinary people doing some kind of salsa line dancing and having fun. It was rather dark, actually too dark to be able to take a decent photo. I don’t like using the flash light, so I soon switched over to playing a bit with my camera, because I was trying to catch the spirit of Salsa Dancing. I don’t think they liked my impression very much, I think they had expected to see photos with recognizable people. Well I made some of those too, but for me there was no action in those photos and there was only one spot light where you could take a decent photo.
As you can see, this photo on the right isn’t shouting Salsa at all, at least not to me.
The Rhythm of Salsa
The Inner Me – a Rhyming Image
List with interesting websites about Motion in Photography
You can always learn more than you already do