Photography is a field in which there is no limit to your creativity. Usually, photography is used to freeze the moments but sometimes capturing a sense of motion can convey the story in a better way.
Motion blur is a fascinating creative photography technique that aims to portray the motion of the subject. Getting the perfect motion blur according to the scene can be challenging if you are new to the photography game. However, there is no need to worry. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know in order to get amazing photos with motion blur.
Long exposure of Los Angeles at night by Konstantin Sutyagin, 123RF.
What Causes Motion Blur?
Motion blur in a photo is caused by any sort of movement in the frame during the exposure time. Exposure time is the time for which the shutter of the camera stays open. If the exposure time is longer, there will be a higher chance for the movement of the subject to cause a motion blur.
What Do You Need?
To capture purposeful motion blur, you do not need any kind of special or high-end equipment.
CAMERA: As far as the camera is concerned, the main requirement is a manual mode. Manual mode will allow you to adjust the exposure time manually, providing you with more control over it.
TRIPOD: A tripod will be helpful in this scenario as we are dealing with slower shutter speeds. While shooting at slower shutter speeds even a minor camera shake can ruin the photo by causing unnecessary blur. If you don’t have a tripod with you, try placing the camera on a stable surface instead.
ND FILTER: Longer exposure time allows more light into the camera sensor. This increases the chance of overexposed photographs. ND or natural density filter is the perfect solution for this problem. ND filters cut out the light reaching the sensor allowing evenly exposed photographs at a slower shutter speed or with sharp lighting conditions.
A photographer adjusting a camera by Volodymyr Vorona, 123RF.
Getting The Perfect Motion Blur
Now, let us discuss how you can get the desired amount of motion blur by controlling it through various factors.
Setting The Shutter Speed:
The most important camera setting is the shutter speed. For the time the shutter stays open, any movement in the frame will cause a blur. This is the technique behind motion blur photos. How slow the shutter speed should be totally depends on the environment you are shooting in. Using bulb mode can be helpful as well. The bulb mode keeps the shutter open for as long as you keep the shutter release pressed.
Keeping the exposure perfect will be a difficult task and that is why you need to understand the exposure triangle. The three components are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, which should be set simultaneously to achieve amazing motion blur photographs. Most of the time the environment you are shooting in is continuously changing. To avoid complications, use the shutter priority mode. Shutter priority mode allows you to control the shutter speed manually while adjusting ISO and aperture automatically.
Motion blur of a woman by lightfieldstudios, 123RF.
Panning For Motion Blur
Generally, motion blur is captured while staying at a fixed motion. However, panning is a technique that requires the movement of the camera along with the subject. It means that you have to move in the same direction as your subject while keeping the focus on it. This way a strong sense of motion blur will be created in the background with a perfectly focused subject.
We have briefly explained all the essential points that you need to know in order to use motion blur to get amazing photos. Now is your turn to get cracking. Get out there and start capturing special moments or preferred subjects and most importantly, never stop practicing.