Panning is a technique that is all about a slow shutter speed and practice.
The basic idea of panning is to smoothly track the subject with your camera while releasing the shutter. This insures that some parts of your subject will be in focus while the background is blurred.
The best results are found when you are parallel to the subject. The movement will be obvious as the subject moves across your frame.
Here is an example of a panning shot of wildebeest that I took at Tuli.
A show shutter speed is necessary in order to show movement by blurring the background.
Generally, one would consider starting with a shutter speed of 1/30s, but this is not definite as other factors play a part in your choice.
These factors include the amount on light you are shooting under. The brighter the day is, the smaller your aperture must be so that you can compensate with a longer shutter speed.
For my panning shot I used a shutter speed of 1/15s. As I was shooting in direct sunlight, I had to compensate for the longer shutter speed by closing down my aperture to about f/29.
Remember that by using a small aperture, you can increase your shutter speed as the smaller aperture helps to limit the amount of light that reaches your camera’s sensor.
What you need to remember:
- A long shutter speed ensures blurring of the background, which shows your subjects movement.
- Track your subject with your camera as smoothly as possible.
- Once you have released your shutter, keep following your subject with your camera to ensure a smooth motion blur.
- Practice makes perfect
- Most importantly: HAVE FUN!
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