How to Blur Motion

Man playing trumpet

If you would like your subject to be blurry or have some blurring in the background to convey motion, you can use one of two techniques: panning or blurring.

With panning, the camera and subject move together at the same speed so that the subject is in focus, but the background is blurred. A shutter speed anywhere from ¼ to 1/30 is generally good range. This technique is generally used for subjects that pass by, like cars or a biker in a race.

In order to pan, set the desired settings on your camera, find your subject, push the shutter, and follow your subject in an arch-like motion. It is important to follow through, like a golf swing, even after you have let your finger off the shutter.

If you would like the subject itself to be blurred, then you need to use the “blurring” technique. This technique is exactly the opposite of stop-motion, as it requires a low shutter speed. Like stop-motion, however, your shutter speed also depends on how fast your subject is moving, but 1/8 or less is a good rule of thumb.

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