Sunday, April 6, 2014

8 Tips for Improving Your Panning Shots

See Also: How to Shoot Perfect Panning Shots

01 Twist with your hips! You need to practice turning yourself fully from the hips, as if you simply turn your head and arms you will be less steady. This will mean that your photos are less sharp.

02 Take your shot when your subject is directly in front of you. If you shoot when your subject is angled toward or away from you, the perspective will change slightly during the exposure, thus producing an unsharp image.

03 Try using a monopod. If you can’t afford a tripod with a swivelling head (these can be very pricey), you could use a monopod instead. This will stop the camera from shaking up and down.

04 Use a flash on rear-curtain sync to help freeze the subject. This will also help if you are using a slower shutter speed, as the flash will help to freeze the subject. Using the flash on rear-curtain sync also means that the flash won’t detract from the existing ambient light.

05 Use your focus point to track your image. The focus points are handy reference points when you’re panning. Position the one you are using over a fixed point on your subject and ensure it stays in the same place as you pan.

06 Try shooting at an angle. Tilting the camera slightly can make your panning shots look more dramatic. Remember though to pan with your subject, rather than with the orientation of your camera.

07 Focus small! Focus on a small part of your subject (such as an animal’s eye) and keep your focus on this point as you pan. By focusing specifically, you’ll get far more shots that you want to keep.

Lastly, don’t rely on the LCD screen. The quality of the screen doesn’t make it obvious that the effects of panning have been captured. So shots will often look sharp on the screen when, in reality, you will have captured an effective panning shot.


Panning can be a frustrating business! It takes practice to perfect and even pros can’t guarantee that every shot taken will be perfect! Remember that the technique means that you are likely to have a little bit of motion blur in your subject and this isn’t a bad thing – it merely helps to convey a sense of movement. If you want to practice panning extensively, the easiest place to go is to a busy road, where you’ll have a never-ending supply of cars! Whilst frustrating, when you perfect panning the results will be well worth all the effort you’ve put in.