I love a great portrait. You know right where the focus is. Everything is crisp and clean, and it captures the true emotion of your subject matter.
But what do you do when your subject simply won’t settle down? You’re at a sporting event. Or the bride and groom are rushing up the aisle. Do you really want to stop the movement, and not capture true reality?
That’s when you add a little motion to your photography, and turn a regular portrait into a completely new experience.
1. Slow down your shutter speed.
You can’t gain motion with a quick shutter speed. With a quick shutter speed, you’re going to stop the motion, concentrating on the details of your subject. How long you leave your shutter opens depends on the movement – and what you truly want to capture. A second or two? An hour or more? Really there is no wrong answer – it all depends on what you are ultimately trying to capture.
2. Control your camera.
For long exposures, it’s best to place your camera on a tripod. If you want the subject to stay in focus while the world moves around it, you need a secure camera with no movement.
But if your action is happening around you and your subject is part of the action, use the technique of panning. Panning follows the subject as it moves, and keeps them relatively in focus while the background blurs. The shutter speed will depend on how fast your subject is moving, and how long you will be following the subject.
3. Be prepared.
What results are you hoping for? Plan out the image ahead of time. Will you have multiple tries at shooting motion? At a bike or car race, you may have the option to shoot multiple images, trying different things each time. Experiment, and keep track of what works, and what doesn’t.
At events like a wedding, it’s important to have two or three cameras ready to go at all times. When the bride and groom are walking (or running) up the aisle, jump in and get a great image focused on their faces. Then step aside and get the motion of their movement. Two images. Two pages in an album. And it will be difficult to pull either one out because of the uniqueness and different perspective.