3 Tips On How To Capture Fast Motion Photography

by | Sep 23, 2022

Defining Fast Motion Photography

Fast motion, is not always thought of as something to capture when taking a photo. More often than not, photography is thought of as a way to capture a moment in history. To preserve just that one second. Fast motion and action are very much a part of that moment and add a very compelling component to images. It helps tell a story or convey a feeling. In this short article, I will discuss 3 ways you can accomplish a fast motion capture.

fast motion photography

Where To Begin?

So how do we show movement? How do we elongate time in a single frame? Well, there are a number of ways to do that. One of the simplest is the long exposure so that is where I will start.

Long Exposure

Long exposure is very useful and effective for a number of reasons, but mostly, due to the fact that all moving objects become blurred and thus show movement. To achieve this, you use a slow shutter speed.

You may want to try several shutter speed settings to find the one that best suits the look you want. Quite often, you will find the action you are photographing will dictate the speed setting.

fast motion photography

Anytime you are taking fast motion photography, you will find that you use a shutter speed that is faster than what you might use for a person walking across the street or most certainly, what you would use to capture star trails in the night sky.

The use of long exposure is perfect when you want to show or convey the feeling of active venues, the passage of time, traffic or congestion in the city, and so forth. At times, it may be necessary to use a tripod when keeping the shutter open for extended periods of time where holding by hand becomes too difficult.

A good example of this would be to have a single individual as your focus and have them stand still while people are walking through a crowded courtyard. They will remain in focus while everyone else is blurred. 

Panning

Another excellent technique for fast motion photography is to use when wanting to show movement is panning. Panning is an effective technique that delivers an end result completely opposite of the long exposure technique. When panning, the shutter is set to a slower speed — again, depending on what the subject is, shutter speeds would be anywhere from 1/15th to 1/100th of a second.

You then move the camera at the same speed as the subject. This causes the subject to be in focus and the background blurred. You get a different point of view (POV) with this technique than with the long exposure making the viewer feel as if they are moving along with the subject. When executed well, the achieved result can be stunning.

fast motion photography

You will often see this method of photography used in racing where you have fast-moving objects that you want to be captured clearly, but still, have the viewer feel the speed involved in the sport.

You can also play around with the panning technique to get different effects by shooting from a moving vehicle. This will give you a much different feel than standing stationary. Especially if the object you are photographing is chasing or driving alongside you. 

Rear Curtain Sync

The final technique when working with fast motion photography is to consider mixing both long exposure and panning with a flash.

Typically, when using a flash, the camera shutter’s first curtain will open, the flash will fire and the image is recorded. Right after that, the shutter’s second curtain closes preventing any additional light from getting in. The flash is synced to fire right when the first curtain opens.

fast motion photography

With that in mind, you can change things up in your camera settings to create an interesting trailing effect. Most cameras will now permit you to switch to “Rear Curtain Sync” which will match the flash to the second curtain. I have found that you can create very compelling motion features by using that function and twisting and panning the camera when taking shots. 

It is also possible to use a slow shutter sync to bring more ambient light in. When coupled with slow shutter speeds, you can achieve very ethereal effects that effectively suspend time while still maintaining a strong element of movement.

End Note:

Practicing these three simple techniques for capturing motion is the best way to figure out what works best for you and will certainly give your photography an added dimension of interest. Give it a whirl and don’t be afraid to push the limits!

Corkboard Concepts offers a wide range of creative services to help you take your business to the next level. Some of these services include photography, drone photography/video, video production, and 360 photos/tours. To learn more about our creative services please contact us today!

Marketing Glossary

What is Bing Ads?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Digital Marketing Platforms

What is Google Analytics?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Digital Marketing Platforms

What is Google Search Console?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Digital Marketing Platforms

What are 3rd Party Cookies?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Common Marketing Terms

What are Ad Extensions?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Common Marketing Terms

What are HTML5 Ads?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Common Marketing Acronims

What are 1st Party Cookies?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Common Marketing Acronims

What is Google Microsoft Clarity?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Digital Marketing Platforms

What does MFA stand for?

by Corkboard Concepts

In Common Marketing Acronims