Week 3 Taking Better Pictures – Movement

Shot in India using Panning Copyright Carla Coulson

Thanks to all of you who participated in my smirkshop! Gorgeous images and so great to see what photos you are all taking.

I love movement, have always loved movement and adore what emotion it injects into an image. There are lots of different ways you can use movement to create speed, poetry,drama and dreamy images by using different techniques such as panning, shutter speed, camera blur and your subject moving.

Here I am chasing my subject as she moves and shot at 1/125 second.


Subject walking past me quickly and I am shooting standing in a fixed position and shot at a 250th second

Subject moving towards me shot at between 1/30 second and 1/60 second.

A word before we start, when it comes to shutter speed anything under 1/60 second without you or your subject moving risks camera shake or if your subject moves even slightly you will get blur. A shutter speed of 1/125 is the minimum you need to start freezing your subject but the faster your shutter speed is ie from 1/250 -1/2000 the more their movment will be totally ‘frozen’.

Pannng (top photo) is a fabulous technique where your subject is in focus and the background is blurred movement. To achieve this with cars, motorbikes etc you set your camera to 1/60th second and choose an f- stop with lots of depth of field then follow the movement of the car etc as it passes you. It gives the sensation of speed.

Often as in the second photo I like to chase my subject which makes for interesting photos because not only do you get movement from the subject but also my movement in the camera. I normally attempt this at at least 1/125 second otherwise it is a real mess. You can see the blur on the back of her foot and I am using also a really low f-stop so the background is also blurry..

In the third photo I want to freeze my subject therefore I need to use a shutter speed of 1/250 second or faster.  I love to get my subject really moving, not just walking and in the case above you can see even his kilt is frozen.

In the forth shot I am going for pure emotion. We were in a tiny bathroom with limited space so I asked my subject to take a step forward towards me working between 1/30 and 1/60th of a second. I wanted blur and I got it!! I was also using a low f-stop as well as I didn’t want the tiles in the background in focus.

 Best of luck..

Blur = Love = Emotion

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Jessica Flett
9 years ago

I really love the 4th photo Carla. I’m hit and miss with movement so this is great inspiration and info to get snapping. Fingers crossed I can come up with something worthy. x

9 years ago

Gawd I love photos with a bit of movement, blur.
I love too to chase after people/dogs who have no idea I’m stalking them.
It must be from reading too many spy thrillers…

Maria de fatima Moraes Rodrigues
Maria de fatima Moraes Rodrigues
9 years ago

Carla, amo suas postagens! É um trabalho profissional e de qualidade. Obrigada por compartilhar essas belezas.
Afetuoso abraço.

Paris Rendez-vous
9 years ago

You are so generous with your expertise Carla…a sure sign of truly talented people! Saw Charlotte today….fab!!!!!!!!

9 years ago

Hi Carla, Each of these is a marvelous photo on its own – together they really show your fabulous ability in capturing not only motion but emotion. Thank you for sharing and great tips! xo

9 years ago

i love movement in photos and your captures are so beautiful. each of them wonderful in their own way. i love the emotion in all your shots xx