Static Camera, Fast Shutter Speed

Photographing moving objects can be tricky. One approach is to use a high shutter speed. This freezes the moving object against the background. The subject and the background are crisp and clear but it can result in losing the feeling of motion. The image above was taken with a static camera at 1/320th of a second.

Static Camera, Slow Shutter Speed

You can also shoot with a slow shutter speed and a static camera. This keeps the background sharp and the subject blurred. This works for some subjects but you lose detail in the main subject, which can be off-putting. The photograph above was taken with a fixed camera and shutter speed of 1/30th of a second.

Both of the above photographs depend on keeping the camera still and photographers often use a tripod for this purpose. Compare these two photographs with the image below.


The vehicle is soft but it remains visible. The background is blurred and removes the background detail which can distract your attention from the main subject. Compare it with the sharp background in the second image. The shutter speed was 1/40th of a second.

The third photograph has been taken using the technique called panning. The photographer carefully moves the camera, keeping pace with the car while the shutter is open. He/she anticipates the trajectory of the subject and tries to keep the subject in the viewfinder at all times. It is similar to the approach used by sportsmen shooting wild fowl in the air. The photographer follows through, moving the camera in an arc, and keeps the moving object in the viewfinder.

It's fun to try this technique and with a little practice you will soon get satisfactory results. Keep in mind that very fast objects tend to go slower around corners and so that's a good spot to take your pictures.