How to Track Objects with Good Results in Photography

JGaulard

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Staff member
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Tracking subjects, or "Panning," as it's known, is a photography technique that's extremely popular, but not widely successful the first few times a budding or amateur photo enthusiast tries it out. It takes a lot of practice to get a nice shot, but once you get the hang of it, it's as easy as pie. If you're not familiar with what I'm referring to, please take a look at this photograph.

panning-train.jpg


Do you see how the train is in clear focus, but the foreground and background is a blur? It looks like there's movement in the photo, doesn't it? That's the technique right there. Trying to take a picture of a moving object and to keep that object as clear as possible, while blurring the background. The goal is to give the viewer an experience. To allow them to know what's going on. To see it happening through your photo.

Standing in a still position and following an object with your camera is referred to as "panning." The trick is to keep your camera as steady as possible while following the subject and to continuously take photos of it as it's passing by. If you have your shutter speed set to something quite fast, such as 1/500 of a second, you may not get the background blur you're looking for. It will depend on how fast you're tracking the subject. conversely, if your shutter speed is too slow, such as 1/4 of a second, you might not be able to keep the subject clear and in focus. There's a sweet spot here and down below, I'll offer a few tips for when it comes to this type of photographic technique.

I do want to let you know that I just wrote an entire post on this topic last night. If you're like to read that post, you can right here.

Tips For Panning Your Camera

-When attempting this type of photo technique, use Shutter Priority mode on your camera.

- For slow moving objects, such as cars on a city street or someone riding a bicycle, you can use a slower shutter speed, such as 1/25 of a second.

- For faster moving subjects, such as a race car or a motorcycle on a highway, use a faster shutter speed, such as 1/200 of a second.

- To become proficient with this technique, try learning with slower moving objects and faster shutter speeds. That's the easiest way to find success at the beginning.

- If you're in a fixed position, try using a tripod to keep your camera steady while panning. It's not necessary, but it can help.

- Continuously take photos as you're following your subject.

- Follow your subject from beginning to end. Don't try to jump in somewhere in the middle. A smooth arc will yield the best results.

- Use an image stabilized lens when panning. That will take out much of the camera shake.

- Take tons of photos and practice your heart out. Digital photos are free, once you buy the camera, so use it.

Do you have any suggestions for when it comes to panning your camera? If so, please share them below. Thanks!
 
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