Picture of Panning: The Art of Motion in Photography
This is a step by step tutorial that teaches how to take panning shots with an SLR camera. Panning describes the action of following a moving subject with a camera to create motion. The end result is a picture with a blurred background and a crisp subject.

What you will need
1. SLR Camera (or any camera with a manual mode)
2. Monopod (can be omitted if you have a steady hand)
3. moving subject
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Step 1: Setting your camera to manual mode

Picture of Setting your camera to manual mode
No matter what kind of SLR camera you have, having the proper settings is key to being able to take panning shots.

First, make sure that your camera is in manual mode.
On most cameras, this is the M on the mode selection dial.

Along with manual mode, you will also want to change your focus setting to continuous mode. 
This allows your camera to continuously focus on and track a moving object as long as you have the shutter release button halfway depressed.

Step 2: Adjusting the shutter speed

Picture of Adjusting the shutter speed
Because the main goal in a panning shot is to induce motion blur, set your shutter speed to a lower speed than you would typically use. Your shutter speed will depend on your subject and the speed at which it is moving.

To start out, set your shutter speed at 1/30th of a second.

Step 3: Preparing for the shot

Picture of Preparing for the shot
With your camera correctly set up, you are ready to prepare the rest of the equipment.

Connect the camera to the monopod and place the strap either around your neck or wrap it around your palm.

Because you will be moving around a bit during this practice, you will want to make sure that your camera is secure.
cscogin3 years ago
I haven't read your anything but this first page so forgive me if you have already mentioned this.

If you have a point and shoot that doesn't have a manual mode you can normally force your camera to shoot a lower ISO and something that is aperture dominant or that shoots at a slower shutter speed.
ChaseBirksFoto (author)  cscogin3 years ago
You are correct. If you have any way to be able to make your camera use slower shutter speeds, you can take panning pictures. Thanks for looking.
maniacse3 years ago
Thank You, this is very helpful for me!
caitlinsdad3 years ago
Thanks, I learned something. I am spoiled dumbed down by the auto settings on my digital camera.
ChaseBirksFoto (author)  caitlinsdad3 years ago
Everybody has to start somewhere. If you are intimidated to jump all the way to manual mode, you could try setting your camera to shutter speed priority mode first (in the picture of the mode dial, this is the Tv setting). This is sort of a half manual mode. You pick the shutter speed and the camera chooses the aperture for you. Luckily, digital pictures are cheap to take and easy to erase. Just mess around with it until you start to get the hang of it. If I can do it, anyone can.