How To: Show Motion in Photography




This instructable will teach the viewer how to show stop action motion, show motion, and panning on any camera, digital or film, that allows you to adjust the shutter speeds.


Step 1: Materials.

For this lesson you will need a camera with a manually adjustable shutter speed and a tripod.

Step 2: Show Motion: Attach Camera to Tripod.

First attach your camera to the tripod. Make sure all the legs are fully tightened and your tripod is on sturdy ground to ensure the safety of your camera.

Step 3: Show Motion: Getting Set Up.

Set your shutter speed to something less then 1/60, 1/30 usually works well but it depends on the speed of the object you are trying to capture. If you are using a digital camera test out a few speeds if you are using a film camera you will want to bracket. If you are using a camera that has a "shutter priority" mode this will probably work best for all of this lesson. If your camera only has a fully manual mode once you have the shutter set then find the appropriate aperture.



Step 5: Stop Motion: Getting Setting Up.

You do not need a tripod for this one, but they are usually helpful. Set your shutter speed above 1/250 if possible, if the object is moving really fast you will want your shutter speed to be faster, the faster your shutter speed the better but it all depends on the lighting conditions and your film speed.



Step 7: Panning: Getting Set Up.

No tripod for this one! Shutter speed should be set to 1/60 of a second. You need to have the moving object in your view finder and follow it (thats right you move too, or at least rotate, no need to run along side the object) along its path. At any point in this process you can snap the picture!

Step 8: PANNING!

If you get the motion right the moving object will be sharp and the rest of the image will be blurred.



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    13 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Even better would be if you are a DIYer (which you are, since you are here): Make a custom frame with a tripod head (hint: it's a 1/4 in screw) attached to a moving subject (bicycle?). Make it so you can see a big part or it, or at least the part your are interested in. Now take a whateverhowlong exposure you want, and if the framed is well attached to the bicycle and secure, the bike should be very neat no matter how blurred the background would be. Try not to make this with a car; you'd need a way non-decent sized frame that would probably get in the way and hit something as you are rolling. But having a buddy with approx the same speed as your vehicle works too! Of course a remote shutter trigger in this case is mandatory; I don't expect anyone bicycling and trying to hit the shutter release at the same time (although a 30 seconds timer should give you plenty of time to press then pendal).


    10 years ago on Step 8

    nice & practical instructables! can it be done with pocket digital camera with no chances to set the shutter's speed?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Not really, although you could achieve a similar effect using the motion blur effect in photoshop


    11 years ago on Introduction

    yes, I got the idea from some of my intro classes, I think its a good technique to use and once you get a hang of it you can use it for a lot more then cars and bikes just figured bikes was an easy way to demonstrate. I am hoping to be a photography teacher next year when I graduate and made this to go along with a unit I intended for photo 1.

    3 replies

    Hmm my mother started taking photgraphy workshops... but she only really knows film, with a bit of luck and pex check I'll be a photgraphy teacher for a while, also possibly doing workshops on photo-touch ups and balancing. that and one on photoshop... I've got to say i hate teachers but like teaching people. How long have you been in to photography?


    I have been in to photography since high school and I am about to graduate college. I am actually going to be an art (hopefully photography teacher) and I am student teaching right now


    Cool just waiting to see if our workshop class plan went through then i have to get pex/access checked, so if the idea goes through that's great and I'll be all go... that'll then give me workshop experience for teaching things I learnt competely on my own, so photoshop website building and photography (depsite having photography in the family i learnt by doing)

    Really? I'm in Photo I this semester, and our assignments are repetition, up close and in focus, texture, depth of field (deep and shallow), rule of thirds, and contrast. Our instructor said that they used to have an assignment for action/motion, but he got sick of people taking pictures of a highway at 1/2000 sec.showing a line of cars "parked." 'Tis fun...


    It's a quick way to make a traffic jam though... Playing with shutter speed and deoth of field beside the highway yields cool and strange results...

    Yeah..she had certain things she wouldn't accept for our photo 1 toilets/water fountains for water, no cars for motion, etc.