Capturing movement on camera can be tricky but there are so many ways you can get creative with it. Once you’ve mastered some basic techniques, motion photography can be used to either freeze or convey a fast-moving moment.
Thank You for Participating!
Browse through all of the photos we received in this motion-themed Photo Session, and don’t forget to check our social media channels, where we will be sharing some of our favorites. Select photos may also be featured in an upcoming issue of Your AAA magazine.
Capturing Movement in Photography
If you’ve ever wondered how to capture a busy city street, your kid jumping into a pool mid-cannonball or the constant rush of a waterfall, these tips can help.
What gear do I need?
To effectively capture movement you just need a camera! However, to explore all types of movement you will want to invest in a tripod and some neutral density filters.
Which camera mode should I use?
If you are a seasoned pro, I would use manual mode. If you are just learning you could put your camera into “shutter priority” mode, usually the S or TV mode on your dial.
What subjects should I shoot?
Water is my favorite moving subject but there are all kinds of subjects that show great movement – people, sports, animals, birds and transportation, to name a few.
Types of Motion Photography
With this method you can produce a still, crisp photo from a moving subject. Take a look at the photo above. The ocean wave looks frozen in time. You can see the tiny water droplets suspended in mid-air. To freeze motion you will need a fast shutter speed. I recommend being above 1/200th of a second and above. For very fast moving subjects like cars or running animals, you will need to be above 1/1000th of a second.
To show motion you need a tripod. If it’s a bright day you will also need a neutral density filter. Neutral density filters block light, allowing your camera to achieve slower shutter speeds. In the image above, I used a tripod and a 10 stop neutral density filter to slow down my shutter speed, which was set to 6 seconds.
Please note: To correctly use neutral density filters you will need your camera to be in manual mode.
Intentional Camera Movement
Otherwise known as ICM, this is when you intentionally move your camera when you are taking an image. The image above is an example of that. With my shutter speed set to .8 of a second I intentionally panned my camera quickly to the right. The outcome is a painterly or abstract look. Waves, leaves and rocks are all fun subjects to practice intentional camera movement on.
Check out past AAA Photo Sessions and stay tuned for the next one, coming soon.
Beth Mancuso is a professional landscape and travel photographer.