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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Learning Panning

Panning is one of the techniques in photography. It’s a pretty difficult skill to master, but once you do you can get some wonderful shots. In pictures with this technique, the subject, which is moving, appears clear while the background appears blurred.

You do this by simply moving the camera with the subject as it moves. This can be difficult, because the field of your shot needs to be moving at the same speed as the subject. To accomplish this, you should begin moving the camera before the subject enters your field, and continue moving the camera after the subject has exited. Also, remember not to set your shutter speed too fast or the subject and background will both come out clear.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t perfect this technique right away – it’s tough; just keep practicing. Here are some of my pictures taken with panning technique:

My first attempt: FAILED! ;)

Second attempt: Hmmm...Not bad!

Third attempt: It's better, don't you think? ;p

The following tips should help you with your panning attempts:
  1. Start tracking the subject as soon as they appear on one end of the frame.
  2. It's usually a good idea to release the shutter as the subject reaches the middle of the frame (of course, you could do it a bit later or earlier but might miss the frame).
  3. After the shutter has been released, keep panning along with the subject, this usually helps provide a very well patterned background.
  4. Keep shutter speed as slow as possible and the highest f-stop that you can manage.
  5. The backgrounds are an important aspect of a panned photo, so look for contrasting colors and patterns.
Like I said above, always remember that panning is a semi-advanced technique so don't worry if you dont get it perfectly in the first few attempts. Keep trying you'll end up with a magical shot very soon.

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