Create Great Panning Photographs Without Moving Your Camera

SPRING SPIN Panning is a photographic technique that provides great separation of subject from background.

The technique is very simple in theory, but takes some practice to perfect.

Here is how it works, you set your camera to a relatively low shutter speed.  Say 1/80 or 1/40 of a second. Next you find a subject that is moving from one side of the frame to the other. Here comes the tricky part. While keeping the subject in a fixed part of the frame (and you do that by panning the lens from side to side) click the shutter.

If you did every thing correctly, you’ll end up with a sharp subject and blurred background. This technique takes a lot of practice with the following focus:

  1. Finding the exact correct moment to click the shutter is not always trivial.
  2. You’ll need to avoid any vertical movement – this will create blur in the subject as well. 
  3.  You’ll have to be in precise sync with the moving speed of your subject, to keep it sharp while blurring the background.

This is why DIYP labs developed several techniques to get panning pictures without ever moving your camera.

1. Take A Picture On A Carousel

By foreversouls

Here you take advantage of the carousel’s movement. If you keep your camera stay the spin of the carousel will do the work for you.

2. Use Escalator Movement

In translation
By Pkabz

Escalators move. DAH. The nice thing is that all the people on the escalator don’t move in relations to one another. This is it is so easy to take a “panning shot” on an escalator, just start behind / in front of the person you are shooting and let the escalator do the rest. The image above shows a slight variation where you can stand in adjacent escalator.

3. Shoot From The Inside Of a Moving Car

Travels with my Camera
By Arthur Lee Smokes

As before the trick here is to have an object which is not moving in relations to the camera. The dashboard is one option, but a far more interesting option is the side mirror. You can use it to take portraits.

4. Strap Your Camera To Your Bike / Chest / Wheels

Chase Jarvis does an amazing job of explaining this, so just watch the vid. Whats that? Parts list too pricey? Count on us to provide a low-tech option for attaching your camera to your bicycles.

6. Seesaw Movement Rocks

Pinhole Seesaw
By Darren C

How about vertical movement panning, here make sure the camera is tightly positioned on the seat before swinging like crazy.

7. Give Your Kids The Spin Of Their Lives

kiddy airways!
By Mr Din

Not only this is great panning, but this is also a great fun family photography project. Hold your kid and spin them away while taking pictures. (Remember – holding below the elbows will help your kid to stay with arms connected to body)

If you still want to take traditional panning shots have a look at DPS’s Mastering Panning guide.