Panning: A Photography Technique to Capture Striking Images of Moving Subjects

Have you seen a picture where the background is blur but the moving subject/object appears sharp and in focus? Well, the photographer has used the ‘Panning’ technique to create such an eye-catching image!

Here’s everything you need to know about Panning.

What is Panning in Photography

Panning in Photography

For Panning, you have to move your DSLR Camera along with the moving subject that you are photographing.:

Some of the Examples of Moving Objects/Subjects for Panning:

  • A Moving Vehicle
  • A Skateboarder
  • A Runner/Jogger
  • A Motorcyclist

How to Use Panning when shooting with your DSLR Camera

Go for Shutter Priority Mode

Since Panning is all about Motion/Moving Subjects, Shutter Speed is of utmost importance here. So, set your DSLR on Shutter Priority Mode; the Camera will accordingly set the Aperture and ISO to achieve the Correct Exposure.

Move along with your Subject

With your DSLR camera in your hand, stand with your legs apart and move your upper body along with your moving subject. Ensure that the speed at which you are moving your DSLR should match with the speed at which your subject is passing by your frame.

Panning in Photography

Wait for the right moment to capture the perfect shot – Click the photograph only when your subject is parallel to your camera.

This way, the subject will be in Focus whereas the Background will Blur.

Use Slow Shutter Speed

You’ll have to use Slow Shutter Speed so that the shutter remains open for a longer time. Since you’ll be following your subject in the viewfinder, it will keep the subject in the same part of the picture making the subject appear sharp; due to the camera movement – the background will blur.

The recommended Shutter Speed is between 1/30 sec and 1/125 sec depending on the speed of your subject.

Panning in Photography

Play with your camera settings till you get the desired shot. If everything in the photograph including the subject appears blur, then increase the shutter speed; and in images where the background is not blur – reduce the shutter speed.

Keep adequate Distance between You & your Subject

If you are very close to your subject, your Camera lens may not be able to Focus on the subject due to the distance being shorter than the minimum focusing distance.

Use Advanced Setting: Automatic Focus

AI Servo AF Canon

Switch on the AI Servo (for a Canon DSLR) & AF-C (for a Nikon DSLR). This tracking mode enables you to continuously focus on your subject as it moves across the frame.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Panning with the help of practical examples.

Panning Photography

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share the Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

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How to Use Foreground Composition to Give a 3D Feel to your Photos

Ever wonder how some people manage to click aesthetically pleasing pictures? Well, the answer is quite simple – they use Composition rules/techniques to creatively arrange the various elements present in the scene which instantly draws the viewer’s attention.

We’ve explained Composition techniques like Rule of Thirds, Centred Composition, Leading Lines, Fill the Frame, Pattern & Texture, Rule of Odds, Colour Theory, Frame within a Frame, Simplicity & Minimalism, Rule of Space, Left to Right Rule, Isolate the Subject & Negative Space Composition in our previous blogs. Now, it’s time to move on to the next Composition technique – Foreground Interest & Depth.

What is Foreground in Photography

The Foreground consists of anything that lies between you and your subject.

Foreground in Photography

Look at the above image of the Waterfall

The Rocks in front of the waterfall form the Foreground in the scene.

When to use Foreground Composition in Photography

Foreground in Photography

You can ideally use Foreground Composition while capturing Landscapes, Waterscapes or Seascapes.

What can you use as a Foreground in Photography

  • Rocks in front of a Stream
  • Small Flowers/Plants/Grass in the Mountain area
  • Fossils/Pebbles/Shells on an Island/Beach
  • Fallen Leaves in the Woods

Foreground in Photography

In the above pic, a Moving Boat in front of the Waterfall was used as a Foreground.

Reasons why you should use Foreground Composition in Photography

  • To give a 3D Feel to your Images/ To create a Layered Image
  • To add a sense of depth to your scene
  • It gives the viewer the feeling of being physically present at the photographed place
  • So that the colour, texture, pattern & shape of the foreground object enhances the photo’s visual impact

Take a look at the below image of the Rainbow Falls in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya where the Rocks served as the Foreground Interest

Foreground in Photography

And a picture with a Riverside Setting in Meghalaya where the Rocks & the Stationed Boats form the Foreground

Foreground in Photography

Now, take a look at the below images of these places – the Image on the Left is without any Foreground & the Image on the Right with a Foreground

Foreground in Photography

Foreground in Photography

  • In both the above images, you clearly notice that the Images on the Left (without any Foreground) are FLAT Images whereas the Images on the Right (with a Foreground) are more appealing due to the 3D Feel & sense of depth.


  • Look for Natural Objects in the Surroundings that can serve as the Foreground Interest
  • Use Wide Angle Lens to capture all the elements in the scene
  • Try lowering your camera angle or adjust the angle in such a way that you are able to include the Foreground Object, inside the frame.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Foreground Interest & Depth with the help of practical examples.

Foreground in Photography