Panning Workshop - Sunday 5 Aug 2012
Panning Photography - by Pierre Retief.
Panning is an age-old technique that I am sure many of you already know/use. For any moving subject it is important to "stay with" the subject whilst you are framing the shot before and after you shoot.
When I take panning photos I use shutter priority with a slow shutter speed.
It takes experimentation to get the correct shutter speed for your photo.
A simple way to try this is to stand by the side of a road and pick out a car going past you. When beginning, try to shoot at a shutter speed that is faster than the focal length of your lens. For example, at 100mm attempt to shoot at 1/250. As you gain experience, you can begin to slow down your shutter. The aperture and depth of field are somewhat irrelevant as the background will be blurred anyway.
Especially as you’re learning the art of panning, don’t slow your shutter down too much. Just keep it slow enough to begin to show some motion. As your confidence increases and you’ve got the hang of things, go ahead and slow your shutter more and more to show even further pronounced motion and thus separation of your speeding subject from the background.
Make sure that you aren't too close to the road. One, for your own safety and secondly if you are too close, the car will become distorted, especially with wide angle lenses, although this may be the effect you like. A small telephoto like 85 or 100mm is good for this technique.
This ‘burst’ technique should help you out in the beginning, you will be able to get a hit rate up to 50% right from the start this way. However later on you will master the panning technique and can rely on taking a single shot as the car comes by, being relatively sure that you’ll end up with a nice, sharp panning shot.
Settings on your camera:
Lowest iso possible
Set the mode to shutter priority.
Set the shutter to continuous or bust mode.
Set the autofocus to AI servo in order to "track" the moving car.
Set focus on centre point focusing.
If your camera or lens has a panning image stabilization/vibration reduction mode, I recommend disabling it.
If your camera bogs down when you shoot a large number of RAW shots, then consider shooting JPEGs only.
Method of panning:
Twist at the waist.
Track the subject through the entire motion. Follow through with your movement after you have completed shooting.
At the point where it passes your pre-designated shooting area, fire away, whilst "panning" with the car all the time, and even use continuous mode if you have it to ensure one shot comes out well.
This will ensure that you get their full range of motion and shutter speed, and won’t stop short of your exposure.
Keep the car in frame throughout your panning!
Be prepared to shoot many frames.
Please keep in mind that panning takes practice to master. You will have to determine the best combination of lens focal length, camera settings and the speed of your subject. Try as many combinations as you can to figure out what works for you.
This will allow you to alter the amount of blur easily and let the camera make other critical decisions while you are shooting.
Panning Practice (At Home)
If you are new to panning or you don’t do it frequently, a practice routine that will improve your panning skills in terms of keeping your movement as flat as possible:
Find a set of horizontal blinds or a horizontal rail. Apply the camera settings described above and set an appropriate shutter speed for the focal length. Begin taking a series of pans trying to follow a specific horizontal line as closely as possible.
In : Workshops