2017 Week 11 Theme: Up Your Moving Subjects Photography Game With The Panning Technique

Photo by Pablo Garcia Saldana

This week, we’re focusing on a technique called panning. The picture above by photographer Pablo Garcia Saldana is a fine example of panning done right. If you’d like to find out how to create images like this with moving subjects, then this is the weekly theme for you!

Before diving in, let’s look back on last week’s Lightroom Editing Challenge. It certainly seemed to capture your imaginations. It can be a difficult job to process someone else’s raw files. This is especially true as these were travel photos from a trip you didn’t take. It was a lot of fun to see you process 5 of my own photos, and just a little strange. You all did great!

Would you like to see Lightroom editing challenges more regularly as weekly themes? If so, let us know in the comments section below. Let’s see the top 3 edits which caught the judges’ eyes this week…

2017 Week 10 Theme Winners:

Congratulations to these members! Keep up the excellent work. Check out all the entries by clicking here.

2017 Week 11 Theme: An Introduction To The Panning Technique

Photo by David Marcu

Panning is the next step on from the basics of capturing moving subjects. Think of how you first learn to take photos of cars, bicycles, and other subjects in motion. First, you decide whether your priority is to freeze or to imply motion. If it’s to freeze motion, you select a fast shutter speed, and if it’s to imply motion, you select a slower shutter speed.

Photo by Paolo Candelo

The panning technique begins with the same decision between freezing or implying motion. However, the photographer then tracks the moving subject by moving as well. Imagine a motorcycle passing by at 30mph. You would see it coming up the road towards you, turn as it passes you, then click the shutter when the time feels right. Getting good results is a mixture of practice, skill, and a pinch of luck.

This week, I’ve got a short video for you to watch. Then, you’ll head outside in search of moving subjects. Finally, you’ll share your panning successes (and fails) with the community. Read on below!

How to Participate:

Deadline: March 19th, 2017

How to submit: Add 2017theme11 as one of the tags in your post on the PhotoBlog platform

Check out the submissions: Use the Weekly Theme tab

Support and encourage: Like and comment on your favorite posts

Everything You Need To Get Started

Panning is as much about moving your body as it is about settings. Because of this, there’s no better way to learn than by seeing it in action. Have a look at this informative video by photographer Nick Stubbs. Take note of his shutter speeds, watch the way he moves his body, and listen for the moment when he presses the shutter.

In the video, Nick selected a shutter speed of 1/200 then panned alongside a fast-moving car. Later, he mentioned slowing things down to 1/60 or 1/30 if you’re panning with a bicycle.

Despite these stated shutter speeds, you’ll find out there’s no golden rule to panning. There is plenty of experimentation involved. That’s why I’m asking you to share both your panning successes and your fails this week. Show us how you improved from your first attempt to your twentieth!

Photo by Luca Campioni
Photo by Rudi Strydom

Where will you go to practice your panning technique this week? A motocross track would be ideal for some dramatic action shots. City centers are a solid bet for capturing moving taxis and bicycles. I’ve just landed in Mumbai, India, so hope to be posting some auto-rickshaw images later in the week. Wherever you go, please take care if you find yourself standing next to busy roads. As ever, enjoy yourselves!

This weekly theme was requested in our Weekly Theme Requests forum thread. If you have a topic or genre you’d like us to feature as a weekly theme, just head over and put in your own request for us to consider!


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About the author

Ben McKechnie

Ben is a photographer, writer, and editor. His work is driven by a fascination in people, and the relationship they have with their culture. Currently to be found editing, photographing, and eating his way around beautiful Taiwan. Ben is a graduate of MatadorU's Advanced Travel Photography course. Check out more of his recent India-based photojournalism over on on his Facebook page and Instagram using the links above.

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