Blog Travel Tutorials

A Mini-Photo Lesson :: Panning and Freezing Action

January 23, 2014


The kids were so excited about Saturday’s photography workshop, and really caught on to the simple techniques we practiced.  I thought that for today’s blog, it might be fun to pass on those tips.  It is torrentially downpouring here, and the sound of the rain on the tin roof is nearly deafening.  We are sitting in the dark at 2pm, watching the trees bend and sway, and the lightening scare the dogs– perfect time to write a blog.


So, to do this, you set your camera’s shutter speed to be pretty slow, and follow your subject as it moves.  The purpose is to show movement– you get your subject in focus while the background is blurred.  The key to nailing this is to know the timing of clicking the camera.  You have to move your camera at the same speed as your subject, and I like to snap the photo just as is gets directly in front of me.  The other key is to keep your camera moving, kind of like following through on a golf swing or in baseball.  The shutter speed is rather slow, so you have to keep moving to get the motion blur.  It is also helpful to use a tripod, if you have a shaky grip.

For this photo, I had my camera set at: F16, 1/40 of a second, ISO 100, and I was using my 50mm prime lens.



For this photo, my camera settings were also F16, 1/40 of a second, and ISO 100.


I felt like this was the least successful of the shots, but it was also Gustav, so I liked it just for that 🙂


Frozen action:

This is one of the easiest things to capture on a camera.  I do 3 things here– I set my camera on AI Servo mode, which makes it easier to focus on movement and action.  Then I also set my camera on “continuous shooting” mode (it looks like 3 little squares overlapping each other). This is like setting the camera on rapid fire.  I do this with sports, with the dancing at weddings, and with toddlers (as their actions and facial expressions change so quickly it is sometimes difficult to catch).  With this technique, you’ll get a ton of exposures that are not necessarily useful, but you’ll also get those one or two perfect shots. As for the shutter speed, etc, you have to set it to be incredibly fast.  For these photos, I had my shutter speed at 1/2000, and the aperture at F4.5.  Because it was sunny, I could keep the ISO at 100, because the wide aperture compensated for the fast shutter speed.  If that sentence is confusing, I can explain in a later post 🙂


Now, I didn’t just happen to snap the photo at the exact time that he was perfectly upside down in his backflip.  Like I said before, I put my camera on what I call “rapid fire”, so I got all these photos in succession, and chose the one that was the one I was wanting:

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And then the jump roping girls.  They were set at 1/800 of a second and F8

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Here’s a few other shots from the day, just random fun things:

Looking at my face, I feel like I’m a very serious and/or concerned teacher.


Raymond has determined that he would like to be in every blog post of mine.  So, here ya go, buddy.

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And Sostene (which I have been misspelling as Sustain).  He makes me laugh more than any of the other students.


The theme of the day for photography was “sports”.  I told the kids I run and do yoga as my sports, so a demonstration was in order.  Haha, this is me making a fool of myself.

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Gustav was a very willing subject for the day, especially where there was jumping involved.


The boys were very serious as well:


The jump roping girls, such little beauties.


And here is a shot of the entire studio, not sure if I have posted one yet.  It was early in the day, before most of the children had arrived.



I hope this little tutorial was helpful to someone!  Have a wonderful day, and we’ll reconvene soon!


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