How to get the right shutter speed for taking panning photos?

sample of panning photo from a Canon 1 DXOne of the trickiest shots to take is a really good panning blurry photo. Generally the desire is to blur all the action around a main subject. The main subject should be focused to give a real sense of motion. If you’re shooting horse racing, motor sports, runners or cyclists you tend to have only a few seconds to grab the photo. This limited time doesn’t help with perfecting your art.

Key tips for shooting panning photos

Here are the top things to remember when trying to capture a panning photo.

  1. Low shutter speed – try to set the shutter to around 1/30 of a second and shot with a long lens 200mm or larger.
  2. Move with the action – sometimes it’s best to not take a photo and watch the action come past you. While the action is moving in front of you move your body with the subject. Yea I know this sounds strange but it’s critical your body understands the speed and motion. Your brain can fool you!
  3. Camera settings – know your camera settings. Chances are if you have the camera set in ‘automatic’ mode you won’t pull this off. Read up on shutter speed priority and work out the kinks before the event.
  4. Pick the right lens – don’t start with a wide-angle lens like a 24mm, or 18mm. These lenses need a shutter speed a lot lower then 1/30th. You’ll have to shoot down as low as ¼ of a second.

Good luck with your photos and let me know how you make out.

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