Have you familiarized yourself with the different settings, dials and modes on your camera? If so, maybe it’s time to branch out into some new photography territory and try a new technique. Here is everything you need to know about panning your camera while tracking a moving object to give your image a feeling of movement and speed.
Choose Your Subject Wisely
The best panning subjects are the ones that are moving past you. This will allow you to achieve a much better background blur than you would get if your subject was coming straight towards you or moving away. A car driving along the road is a great subject with which to begin your panning photography. Its movement is smooth and predictable. Unlike that of a wild animal like a bird or deer. You can shoot panning photography of these animals and more, they just probably aren’t the best subjects for beginners. The background is also an important factor if you want a good panning photo. Look for a background with some texture or contrasts to make your subject stand out. As beautiful as a blue sky looks in your landscape photography, the uniform background won’t work well in panning photography.
The key to good panning photography is to capture a feeling of movement by creating streaky, blurry background movement while the subject appears sharp. This is all achieved by using a slow shutter speed while tracking the moving subject. Switch to Shutter Speed Mode on your camera from Beachcamera.com. That’s Tv mode on a Canon, and S mode for other cameras. Your shutter speed will vary form 1/4 for a slow moving cyclist to 1/125 for a fast moving car. The length of your lens will also have an impact on your shutter speed setting. If you’re using a telephoto lens to shoot panning photography of wildlife or cars, you may want to start out at 1/30. If you have complete faith in your camera’s autofocus, set it to continuous autofocus to keep your subject in focus throughout your panning shots. If you choose to focus manually, start by focusing on a predetermined position in front of you where your subject will be passing by. Manually focus on this point before your subject reaches that point. Set your camera to continuous shooting mode when panning to increase your chances of a successful panning photograph.
What About Image Stabilization?
The purpose of image stabilization is to counteract your camera’s movements and vibrations. This will be counteractive when attempting panning photography. You may need to turn the IS off on your lens when panning unless your lens has an advanced IS mode like the Nikon VR mode. Some Canon lenses have an IS 2 mode designed especially for panning photography.
Shooting panning photography takes some practice. To make sure you don’t miss the shot, have your settings saved into Custom Mode or User Mode so you’re ready to go in an instant.