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What Is Motion Photography ?

Anyone can snap an amazing picture, but truly understanding the mechanics behind your shot can make the difference between a nice photograph and a breathtaking one. Motion photography is one of the effects that you can use to change the way you take pictures.

But what is motion photography, and how — and when — do you use it?

What is Motion Photography ?

Ever seen a photo with a streak or smear running across the image? If so, you’ve likely seen a motion blur picture. Motion photography is done by purposefully allowing movement to blur, creating streaks or smears across a photo to give the illusion of speed, motion or activity. It is a creative effect that can change the story of your picture, creating a more dynamic and exciting image that will capture your audience’s attention.

When to use Motion Photography

Photos are commonly taken  to freeze a moment in time — and often  the moment you want to capture includes movement in it. That’s where motion photography comes in. By adding a slight blur to your picture, you’ll add an element of surprise and extra energy  to your image to help  tell the story that you want to tell.

Motion photography is often used to capture dynamic sports pictures, nature imagery, or even photographs of moving vehicles.

Thinking about using this effect in your photography?  Motion photography is a great way to:

  • Set the mood in the picture make your images more dynamic
  • Introduce the element of time to your photo
  • Add more depth to the image
  • Bring attention to your main subject

How to Capture Motion in Photography

Communicating motion in photography can take two forms: by capturing crisp, dynamic subjects at the moment of their action, or by using long exposure motion blur photography to communicate motion that has happened or is happening.

Achieving a beautiful blur happens when you hit on the right combination of shutter speed, exposure time and motion. There are a few ways to get the motion blur effect with your camera.

1. Move the Camera During the Picture.

Known as panning. For an image that sports a blurred background contrasting against a sharply focused main subject, move your camera with the subject. To do this, pan your camera at the same speed as your subject, and in the same direction that your subject is travelling.

2. Move the Main Subject During the Picture.

Are you trying to blur a moving subject while keeping the background crisp and focused? To achieve a blurred main subject, simply focus your camera on a single spot (for best results, place it on a tripod) and take your picture as the subject is moving.

3. Decrease Shutter Speed and Increase Exposure Time.

To get that lovely motion blur, you’ll need a longer exposure time. The easiest way to do that is to use a slower shutter speed. While faster shutter speeds will result in a sharp focus (which is why fast shutter speeds are often used in wildlife or sports photography), slower shutter speeds not only allow more light to enter your camera but also create the beautiful smooth blur. 

Explore Motion Photography in Sydney

Once you understand what motion blur in photography is and how to achieve it, you can use your camera to create fantastic images that tell engaging stories — just like these pictures snapped by our students.

While motion blur photography is a great skill to learn, it’s by no means the only one! Whether you’re a new photographer or a digital photography expert, Sydney Photographic Workshops offers a variety of boutique classes designed by photography professionals. From photography essentials to Adobe Lightroom courses, we teach a range of classes that will help you develop valuable skills and forever change the way you see through your lens.

Have any questions about our classes? Need some advice on choosing a workshop? Our friendly team is always ready to chat! Reach out to us today and we’ll be happy to speak with you.