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.

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