Panning; the street at a standstill.

Many of the assignments in my photography class are concepts I have never heard about nor tried. Before this class I was a basic ‘point and shoot’ photographer; if I can even call myself that. Now, I’ve expanded my knowledge and capabilities behind the camera.

One of the more interesting techniques we’ve come to learn and I’ve come to (somewhat) understand is panning. A panning photo demonstrates the isolation of a moving subject, usually a car moving at high speeds, and shows the ‘movement’ of these things around it through blur. Inanimate, non moving things like fire hydrants and buildings appear blurred to exaggerate the movement of main subject of the photo.

Although this is tough to shoot, like anything, practice makes perfect. The key to a good panning shot is following your main subject at near the same speed they are passing you. No 100m/h, but once you can relatively match the movement of it, you start to get better images.

Another thing that’s really important to consider is the angle at which you are “panning”. This type of photography is best shot with a tripod; I learned that the hard way. Most of my images have half of a car or better yet just the bumper. Here are a few examples:





Another really difficult part of taking a good panning photo is getting the subject completely in focus. A lot of the well framed pictures I took were ruined by blur. The background was out of focus which is what I wanted but the main subject was as well, as shows here below:



All in all, I did get a few good shots. But, those will be kept secret for my assignment!

Here is a link i found that not only helpfully explains how to take a good panning shot, but also gives examples of other subjects like skateboarders and dogs! Let me know what you think and happy panning!


2 thoughts on “Panning; the street at a standstill.

  1. I love how informative this post is! And it’s great that you’ve included so many of your progress shots, too. This was a frustrating day for us both, but thankfully we managed to get some great shots!


  2. Thanks for the tips on how to do panning shots. I have to redo my panning shots because I didn’t use a tripod -. -. I’m not too fond of it 😦


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