How To Capture A Panning Photograph

Want to try your photographic hand at a fun technique?

I love to have fun with my camera. I love to see how I can push it, what I can make it do.

What It Is

Panning is a fun technique to add some pizzazz to your photos and your memory-keeping.

It can take a little practice, but once you nail it, you’ll be in love. Be prepared to have a few photos to delete in the process!

What You Need

What do you need to make it work?

  • A camera with the ability to control shutter speed
  • A moving subject – a car, bike, runner, merry-go-round
  • Patience
  • Good light

How To Do It

Start by turning your flash off.

If you know how to use manual mode, you can definitely go there.

For the rest of us we are going to use Shutter Priority mode.

In shutter priority mode, you select the shutter speed and your camera will select the aperture for a correct exposure. This technique is all about shutter speed.

  1. Set your camera to  TV (Canon), S (Nikon and Sony)*
  2. Set your ISO based on the available light
  3. Set your camera to take as many frames as possible – Drive Mode on Canon, Release Mode on Nikon, Continuous on Sony
  4. Set your Shutter Speed, dependent on the speed of your subject (use these as a starting point, adjust accordingly)
    1. Car 1/500
    2. Bike 1/125
    3. Runner 1/50
  5. Stand with your feet firmly planted and your elbows tucked close to your body.
  6. As your subject moves, press your shutter down to lock focus and swivel at your hips, following your subject as it moves. Keep the camera as steady as you can. The steadier you keep it, the smoother your image will be.

The real trick for this technique is to hit that optimum spot where your shutter speed and the movement of your subject moves in synch. Adjust your shutter speed either faster or slower until you find that sweet spot!

A few fun subjects to give this a try with:

  • Children at a soccer game, running down the field
  • Someone skateboarding in front of alley art
  • A car speeding by a busy city street

Have fun with it. Shoot lots. Let me know how your results turn out!

*Is your camera brand not listed? I still love you. Post in the comments if you can’t find the right setting.

Katrina is a team member here at The Daily Digi, be sure to also check out Katrina’s CaptureYour365 for more great photography tips!

P.S. the random winner chosen from the “Just Scrap Reader Challenge” was Lisa. You can see her layout here. She won $10 in product from one of this month’s contributors.

P.S.S. Sue was the random winner selected from those that commented on Tangie’s feature. She won $10 in product from Studio Tangie! 🙂