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Photography Question 
Ana Johnson
 

How to do panning shots


I just started a photography class at a local community college. One of the assignment is panning. I am having a hard time doing panning shots. Can anybody help me with ideas?


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3/16/2006 9:12:16 PM

 
Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  For starters, what is your subject in the photo? This does make a difference for shutter speed. The optimal shutter speed for a person running is different than the optimal shutter speed for a race car or something much faster.
what kind of camera and lens are you using? what does the assignment involve, and what did your teacher tell you?


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3/16/2006 11:04:28 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
 
 
 
First, USE A TRIPOD!
this will hold your camera on the same plane throughout the pan. A fluid head tripod works best since it has a much smoother action. A somewhat slower shutter speed is also needed. You want to blur the background while keeping the subject in focus. Don't worry. You'll get it. it just takes practice.


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3/16/2006 11:53:42 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Oh, and Becky is right. A much slower shutter speed is needed for a jogger than for a race car. Remember, you are trying to blur the background, not the subject.

Have a fun and keep shooting,
Mark


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3/17/2006 12:00:11 AM

 
Autumn Hernandez   Panning definitely takes some practice to get it right. I'm no pro, but this is how I manage to get it to work. I put it on shutter priority, usually about 1/15 for a biker or car or something. Then, lock in focus, follow it for a second before pressing the shutter, and I actually hand hold the pan. My right hand holding the camera, my left hand like a table underneath the camera. I'm not good at the tripod method. lol A good way to practice is to just shoot the cars driving down a street. That was our first assignment. You might get a few birds flipped your way, but at least you'll find what works for you. ;) Good luck.


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3/17/2006 12:06:59 AM

 
Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  I'll have to disagree with Mark on the tripod thing. I think for motion shots like this, it's better to control the movement of your camera in your own hands. I'm with Autumn. For slower-moving objects, I too use 1/15. For faster ones, I use either 1/30 or 1/60. lock the focus on the subject, follow it with it's motion, press the shutter and continue with the motion at the same pace. I was lucky enough to go to a jousting tournament last year when I had the same assignment in a photography course. I kept practicing, trying different shutter speeds, and since this show went on for a good 45 minutes back and forth, I took about 100 pictures. It was my first try with panning, and I got probably 3 good ones. Practice, practice practice.
Here's a thumbnail to one of the shots I got.
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=1124469


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3/17/2006 2:19:46 AM

 
Joe Jarosz   Hi Ana,
I've done a fair amount of panning shots and Becky has a lot of great information. In addition here's some other tips that I have found helpful.

1. I don't use a tripod for panning. But lots of practice is essential. You will take some bad shots, don't worry about it, just keep practicing and don't get frustrated.

2. Position your body with your feet pointing in the direction of travel, feet together, and twist at the hips toward the oncoming object you want to pan on. As it comes towards you (or rather across the front of you), twist at the hips in the direction of travel. You won't have to move your feet and you will get a nice smooth panning motion.

3. Tuck your elbows into your sides. It will help you keep your camera steady and maintain focus on the subject.

4. You can use slower shutterspeeds for more atristic effects, I've included an example below.

5. Look for backgrounds that will show motion. So in other words, if you can, position yourself to watch your composition. You will see in my images below there are some that are just against plain white walls. Not as effective as if they had been taken with a background that would show blurring as a result of the panning.


Some samples of panning using these tecniques

http://www.joejaroszphoto.com/-/joejaroszphoto/gallery.asp?cat=10433&pID=2&row=15&photoID=1073200&searchTerm=

http://www.joejaroszphoto.com/-/joejaroszphoto/gallery.asp?cat=10433&pID=3&row=15&photoID=1073176&searchTerm=


slower shutter speeds (about 1/6 of a second)

http://www.joejaroszphoto.com/-/joejaroszphoto/gallery.asp?cat=17742&pID=1&row=15&photoID=1141255&searchTerm=

http://www.joejaroszphoto.com/-/joejaroszphoto/gallery.asp?cat=17742&pID=1&row=15&photoID=1141244&searchTerm=

I hope this helps.


Joe



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3/17/2006 4:43:12 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  welcome ana,
joe's technique is very easy to master with a little practice.i use it for r/c aircraft fly-ins.however I set my camera to auto and use sports mode.the omni directional predictive focusing is very good on my camera.with 400 iso my camera will set a shutter speed usually around 1/1000th.there are a couple of these in my gallery and even a crop duster.
be smooth and be steady,sam


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3/17/2006 9:02:10 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You also pan to freeze motion as well as get the blur to show motion.


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3/17/2006 11:04:59 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Quite frankly Ana, and with all due respect to Becky, her 3% success rate in panning that tournament isn't "joust" one of those things you need to accept. It's not a very good technique to be hand holding the camera while spinning around to follow motion and expecting to get sharp resolution.

Mark's suggestion (the other Mark) is far more viable in using a tripod, preferably one with a ball head though a standard head will do fine. How come? Well, there are a number of reasons. While I can hand hold a fairly substantial Nikon F-2 with a motor drive and either a 35mm, 85, or even 100mm lens at 1/15th of a sec. sufficiently steady to photograph scenes in a dimly lit venue like a jazz club, trying to pan a fast moving scene and record the central subject at 1/15th of a sec., in my view is essentially impossible if you want the subject quite sharp. As Greg said, you can pan to freeze motion AND blur the background or something else in the scene, but you need to be working at somewhat faster shutter speeds in order to freeze the central subject. 1/125th or even 1/60th may be sufficient depending on your target.

One rule of thumb I just mentioned to someone else, is that to adequately support a camera without shaking the thing, your shutter speed should not be much less than the maximum mm of the lens you're using if you're looking to get really sharp results. For example, if you're using a 300mm lens, unless you've really practiced, you shouldn't work at less than say 1/250th of a sec without a camera support.

If you tried it both ways, with and without a camera support and enlarge the images to 8x10 or greater, you'd see what I mean. (I know, fix it in PS).

Essentially what I'm suggesting is that you use a tripod (with a cable release) and you'll likely see a big improvement in your results. If not, you may be nudging the camera or making it unsteady as you pan away. Use the tripod control to pan on the axis making sure the other controls are locked down. See which results are sharper and that you like best.

Take it light.
Mark


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3/17/2006 8:18:13 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Well, I was more trying to say that you can pan to get the background streaky blur effect, but you also pan to get a moving thing frozen that dosen't have the blur effect to the background. As opposed to trying to time when something crosses in front. Pan when using a fast shutter speed.


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3/17/2006 11:47:15 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
I had to do panning shots for my two begininning photography classes and here is what I did to make it work:

The first was done at a carousel. This was easier for me because I could lock my focus before the ride started. Because the ride kept going in circles it was easy for me to experiment with different shutter speeds without having to mess around with focussing.

The second was at a running track. My husband is a runner and he kept running laps so I could practice and get a good shot. He wasn't as fast as a car ... which made it easier for me.


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3/25/2006 1:41:00 AM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
Oops, forgot to login before I responded to the thread.


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3/25/2006 1:42:05 AM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
Oops, forgot to login before I responded to the thread.


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3/25/2006 1:43:33 AM

 
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