While many of us spend a lot of time getting rid of ‘blurry’ shots – one of the best ways to add interest to play around with capturing motion blur. Here are 13 places that you might like to start experimenting with capturing motion blur in your photos.
The shot of a passenger waiting on a subway platform for a train with moving train behind is always a fun one to experiment with because it contrasts the speed of a train with the stationary passenger (often being buffeted by wind of the train).
These shots are all about making sure your camera is completely still (tripods are key if you can) and anticipating the moment. It’s also about framing your shot so that your subject is well positioned.
2. The Coast
Coastal areas can be a landscape photographers dream and are great places to capture motion blur. One place to start is by the waters edge where waves rolling in over stationary rocks, piers or sand can create a mystical foggy effect when shot with a longer shutter speed.
Don’t forget that wherever there are people – there is movement! So don’t just focus upon the water.
3. Spinning Children
My kids would be spun around like this all day every day so if you have kids around you’re likely to have willing subjects for this one – just be careful with smaller children as I do have a friend whose child dislocated their shoulder doing this – no photo is worth that!
To get the shot you’re going to probably need a couple of people – one to hold onto the child and the other to hold the camera around that person’s waist (or over their shoulders) in front of the child.
4. Playground Shots
A variation of the spinning child shot above is to head to your local playground where there is usually a variety of equipment which is great for motion blur shots. Swings, merry go rounds, slides or pretty much any equipment that gets those on them moving are fun to experiment with.
You can either position a camera on or off the moving equipment to get different types of effects.
Bikes present all kinds of opportunities whether they be street shots (above), competitions below or actually getting ON the bike with your camera!
If you’re going to experiment with taking photos of bikes one technique to try is slow sync flash which will give the effect of movement while also capturing a split second in time.
As with Bikes – moving cars are an obvious place to look when you’re wanting to capture motion blur. They also present many opportunities whether it be photographing the car from the inside (above), attaching a camera to the outside of your car or actually photographing cars moving by you from outside.
7. The Fairground
Fairgrounds present all kinds of exciting opportunities. Many rides have both elements of movement and stationary components which can create a wonderful effect. They also often have another exciting element – light – which makes twilight photography perfect.
Don’t discount daytime action at the fair though – there are still plenty of opportunities – particularly those to perfect your panning technique.
Whether it be in a performance, on the dance floor at a party or in a studio – dance is about movement and therefore presents us with opportunity to capture some nice motion blur.
Bird photography is very popular in our forum area and among some of the best examples that I’ve seen are those that manage to incorporate a sense of movement into their shots. The key in many places is to choose a shutter speed that is slow enough to get wing movement but fast enough to keep the rest of the moving bird sharp.
10. Star Trails
Stars are perhaps one of the last things one would think about when presented with the challenge of capturing motion blur – but they can also be some of the most spectacular images.
I have a number of friends who just LOVE photographing escalators and who have spent many hours capturing the smooth movement that they create. Many of their shots have the camera on the escalator and include a subject to give a point of interest – they’re often taken at night so as to capture colorful ambient light in the tunnels around their favorite escalators.
Also consider shots of those passing by on escalators with the camera position off the escalator.
12. The Umbrella Shot
This is an oldie but a goodie. To add a little interest to a portrait have your subject hold an open umbrella over their shoulder and behind their head and then have them slowly twirl it.
13. The Street
If I’m ever at a loss for subjects to photograph I just head to the most busy street corner I can find in what ever city I’m near. The hustle and bustle of the street is a never ending supply of movement to capture.
Want to learn more about motion blur? Check out our previous post – How to Capture Motion Blur in Photography.