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In-Camera Movement


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In-Camera Movement

16 Nov 2018 11:24AM   Views : 887 Unique : 341

For the vast majority of photographs the camera needs to be still at the moment of exposure. There are situations, such as sports photography, where the camera has to move to follow the subject (think panning the camera as a racing car goes past). In thos situations you're trying to keep the subject stationary in the frame to enable a sharp capture, while the background takes on movement blur.

Now let's take this a step further - camera movement while photographing a static subject. Imagine a standard woodland scene. There's sufficient light for a hand held shot to producea sharp result. Depending on your settings, especially if you don't check them first, you may end up with a soft image because of camera shake. Even image stabilisation systems have their limits and at some point won't be able to compensate.

The scenevin front of you is attractive, warm autumn colours in morning sunlight. Patches of colour interspersed with trees. It's ok, that's what made you look in the first place. It made an impression togetjher with the slight breeze, the smell of the damp ground and so on that you can't include in a photo. Rather than produce a hugely detailed image, you can produce something that leaves something to the imagination of the viewer.

Take the shutter speed down slow. Exactly how slow will depend on the light levels (as you may not have a small enough aperture to give a correct exposure), the focal length of the lens in use and the amount of movement you create. For example, if you halve the shutter speed you'll need to move the camera twice as fast for the same result.


Focus on the impotant part of the scene. Use single shot or manual, as you don't need focus tracking as you move the camera. Start moving the camera. As you reach your chosen composition release the shutter, while continuing a smooth movement.

Experiment. Different levels of movement blur will work differently on different scenes. What works for one won't look so good on another. Do you want some recognisability to the scene or something altogether more abstract and impressionistic? The finer details of a scene won't be recorded, we're talking braod brush strokes, so it's the main elements of the scene that will become important. A large are of colour or brightness that wasn't so obvious in the scene as a whole may become dominant or distracting in your image. So you may need to recompose and try again. Conversely, a rather complicated scene can be simplified by this technique.

I used vertical movement here as it matched the nature of the scene but other situations may work with horizontal movement, or even with a curved motion.


The great thing is that it's all done at the time of capture. There's no need to use software (apart from the usual Colour Balance and Levels adjustment for example tht you'd do as a matter of course). Each image you create will be unique as it's very difficult to replicate from one shot to the next however hard you try. I've used the example of a woodland as it's autumn and it's colourful but pretty much any subject has potential.



5 Dec 2018 12:09PM
I'm deeply interested in ICM, and have had some success, in my eyes, of images "outside of the box". I ask myself , Is the world of photography ready for this? I entered an image in my local photography club and I hope I've inspired a few to 'give it a go'. ICM appeals to my artistic bent, together with the almost unpredictable side of it. Many thanks for your article, encouraging.

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pink Plus
16 6.1k 7 United Kingdom
11 Dec 2018 4:10PM
I must admit that if I am feeling a bit underwhelmed with a scene this is something I turn to, I also do a bit of zooming during exposure.
The image below was taken from a moving vehicle and the house kept in the frame whilst driving at 60mph ( I wasn't driving!) I like the effect and it is something I want to try more in the future, thanks for the inspiration

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