Do you have problems shooting a moving object with a camera? It’s not just the speed of your subject that counts, it’s where you stand and the angle you shoot from.
We have all been there: a beautiful bird flies past us, our photographer reflexes kick in, we aim, shoot, and get a sad photograph where our subject is out of focus completely or slightly blurry at best. Of course the question is, how does one prevent such disappointing outcomes? Well, in the following infographic by Snap Paper, they show you how to capture everything from moving water to fast cars.
Photographers work very hard to get their subjects perfectly sharp, and to create just the right degree of background blur in their images. But it’s a mistake to imagine that focusing and lens aperture is the only control that counts. This infographic will teach you how to adjust your camera settings to take the perfect, moving shot.
How to photograph a moving object
The main camera setting that need to take focus of when shooting a moving object is the shutter speed. This is done by putting your camera on shutter priority and looking through your rear viewfinder, pressing your shutter button halfway down, then looking along the edges of the inner screen for a number that resembles a fraction like 1/125.
Correct your camera exposure for the right environment and light
Set your dynamic focus instead of “single shot” to keep the camera focusing as you keep the shutter release halfway depressed.
Shoot a few shots as the moving object passes
Take a few shots as the object passes by while also panning. To slow things down a little, decrease the shutter speed to 1/160, and narrow the aperture to F/10 to keep exposure about the same. This will give the photos a little more depth of field.
Shoot again and try to capture a sense of motion
Your goal might be to get your subject in perfect focus, but even if it’s slightly blurred, it can still be an acceptable shot. Sometimes when objects move to various parts of your lens, they’re slightly distorted. So when you take a shot with a lot of motion in it, it’s natural that your image isn’t entirely in focus
Create different effects with movement in your pictures
Use a point-and-shoot camera, set it for a night (tripod) shot, hold the camera and shoot the moving object. Stand at an angle so the moving object would be moving away from you and try to be as still as possible. The camera should be as steady as possible because it automatically set the shutter speed to nearly 1/5th of a second; the result will be a fun image of a moving object that appears more or less stationary.
How to photograph a moving object with SLR
When photographing water, slow down the movement. Always start with a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second. Take a few test shots and look at the results, then slow down from there. Try 1/4, 1/2, and so forth, until you see the results you want.
If you want to freeze motion like a water drop, then start with a much faster shutter speed of 1/160th of a second. Check the results then change it to a faster fraction if needed.
When photographing moving people, start at 1/125th of a second for walkers if you want to capture them in sharp focus. If, on the other hand, the aim is to blur the person walking, then set a slower shutter speed starting the experiment with 1/30th of a second. To blur a running person, start with 1/60th of a second. Use similar settings when photographing children on the move.
If you’re shooting people running and you want to capture them in sharp focus, then begin with a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second and adjust from there.
To blur a moving car travelling at 30mph (48kph) set a shutter speed of 1/125. To capture a race car in sharp focus start with 1/1300th of a second. And if a car is travelling at 70mph (112kph) the set a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second will result in moderate movement or blur.
Shutter speed settings for panning
Panning is another way to show intentional movement. Panning with a moving object will result in background blur while the object itself stays in sharp focus. For panning start with a 1/60th of a second shutter speed, and if you’re a beginner don’t go any slower than this. In fact, panning at 1/60th of a second in much easier than panning at a slower speed of 1/4th.
Panning with animals
1/60 is a perfect camera setting for panning with a horse. When you pan with a horse, you’ll still see movement in the animal’s legs or the jockeys up and down movement.
I hope this helps when you’re trying to capture a moving object. Once you have your images, learn if it’s better to use Adobe Photoshop vs Lightroom to edit.