Creative Photography with Blurred Motion

by Linda Eodice

dennis tubestation london
© Linda Eodice
All Rights Reserved

One very effective way to show motion in your photos is to allow a moving subject to become blurred. It approximates the way our eyes perceive a fast-moving subject, and turns the subject into a soft, suggestive presence.

You must use a slow shutter speed to record a moving subject as a blur. However, the exact shutter speed setting depends on several factors, such as the speed of the subject. You may be able to blur the motion of a speeding automobile at 1/60 second, but a slower-moving jogger may require 1/15 to 1/30 second. The angle at which you shoot your subject and its distance from you is also imperative. A subject that moves across your field of view blurs more quickly than one headed straight for you. A close subject blurs more than a faraway one moving at the same speed.

Besides using a slow shutter speed, you should also use a low ISO setting. Keep in mind that slow-motion effects work best in low light. You run the risk of overexposure on a bright, sunny day, so you may want to use a neutral-density filter when the light is bright.

You can capture a dramatic effect if you can record a sharp subject in contrast to the blurred motion. In this situation, I only had a few seconds to record a blurred train coming into the underground station in London, England. Using the shutter-priority mode on my camera, I set a shutter speed of 1/16 second, and used an ISO setting of 160. My aperture setting was f/3.5.

I asked my husband to hold still, so that I would have a sharp subject in contrast to the blurred train. Because he was in a more dimly lit area on the platform, he also recorded as a silhouette. I had time to shoot just two photos before the train came to a screeching halt, and I felt that this image was the more successful of the two.

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About Author Linda Eodice

Author: Linda  Eodice

To learn more about photography, explore the photography classes offered here at BetterPhoto.