Let’s start with, what is panning? Panning is a technique whereby you move your camera at the same rate as a moving object, such as a car or person, to keep the subject sharp and the background blurred. Panning is something that takes a while to master, but is the best way to capture motion in your photos. SETTINGS
The basic key settings to get you started are:
– ISO: low, 100-200 (keep as low as you can to allow slower shutter speeds)
– Aperture: small, f8-f16 (the smaller the aperture the larger the hyperfocal distance)
– Shutter speed: slow, 1/60 – 1/5 (the slower the shutter speed, the more motion you will show). 1/5 needs a lot of practice but can pay off with incredible shots! 1/60-1/30 is a good speed to begin with and still gives the perception of movement.
If you still have too much light, close down the aperture even more, or add a neutral density filter (ND filter) or even a circular polariser (CP filter) to block out some more light.
Set your camera to burst mode or continuous shooting which means when you press and hold the shutter button it will capture multiple photos in a row. This increases your chances of getting a sharp image.
If you’re not a confident manual shooter, switch your camera over to shutter priority (S or TV) which allows you to just select the shutter speed while the camera does the rest.FOCUS
Getting your subject in focus is the trickiest part of panning. You can try continuous autofocus which is probably best when you’re first starting out. Most cameras should have this option, and it means you can focus on whatever you want and when you start following the moving object, the camera should automatically track it and focus on it.
Otherwise, use regular autofocus, my personal choice, which requires you to focus where you think the subject will appear. The best way to do this is to pick an inanimate object that is approximately at the same distance from you as you think your subject will be, grab focus (hold your shutter button half way) and hold it until you’re ready to capture the photo.
Remember, you’re shooting at a small aperture so you have a bit of leeway with your focus.THE ACTION
Now, how to actually “pan”. The way I’ve found the best for me is to start with a solid stance, have your feet about shoulder-width apart and be slightly facing in the direction that your subject is coming from. Now, lock your elbows in against your body so that you’re only pivoting your shoulders and hips, making sure you’re not just moving your arms. Start by following the subject long before you want to take the shot to match the speed that it’s travelling at, and when the subject lands in the position that you want, capture the frame and continue to follow the subject. Remember, your shutter could still be open.
I’ve seen a few people at events shooting with a monopod to keep their shots a little steadier. I’ve tried doing it myself but have found it just gets in the way, everyone’s different so if you have a monopod give it a go and see what works for you.Panning is definitely something that takes practise and persistence. To start with you’ll probably get a lot of shots that are not quite in focus, but once you get the hang of it you will be nailing shots all over the place, and panning everything that moves.
If you have any questions or any panning tips yourself, make sure you comment below.