How to capture perfect panning shots in motorsport photography

Author Isaiah Carletti

Posted Mar 21, 2023

Reads 12.1K

Top View Photo of Woman Lying on Mattress

Capturing perfect panning shots in motorsport photography can be a daunting task, but it's an essential skill for any photographer looking to take their motorsport photos to the next level. Panning involves following a moving subject with your camera while using a slower shutter speed to create smooth lines and motion blur around the subject. This creates a real sense of fluid movement and is a great way to capture fast-moving sports photography.

To capture these shots, you'll need some essential gear such as telephoto lenses opens, 150-600mm lenses opens or monopod opens, and fast shutter speeds. While freezing moments with fast shutter speeds can result in crisp shots of subjects like motorbikes zooming round the track with wheels removing, sitting stationary isn't always the most exciting way to shoot. That's where panning comes in - by using slower shutter speeds, you can capture the entire subject in motion while still keeping your tack-sharp subject surrounded by smooth lines of motion blur.

Engaging continuous focus and ensuring that your viewfinder match your subject's motion will help you keep your shot adequately framed. This technique is called panning and is used for capturing spinning wheels or anything that moves quickly. Slower shutter speeds result in greater sense of motion blur for faster subjects while still keeping the subject crisp. A good middle ground is key - slow enough to create decent motion blur but not so slow that you don't have any sharp subjects at all. With practice, you'll end up with high hit rates and plenty of sharp shots to showcase your skills!

Camera deals, prizes and latest news

Are you in search of the latest camera deals, reviews, product advice, and competitions? Look no further! Our website is your one-stop-shop for all things photography. From unmissable photography news to exciting prizes, we’ve got it all.

YouTube video about Camera deals, prizes and latest news

Have you heard about the new wearable AI camera secretly developed by ex-Apple directors? This groundbreaking technology allows for hands-free shooting and automatic panning shots. Stay ahead of the game with our exclusive coverage and updates on this innovative device.

In addition to cutting-edge technology, we also offer recommendations on classic devices like digital TLRs and official Sony cameras. Don’t miss out on our Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Drawing Tablet sets that rival Wacom Cintiq Pro. Trust us to bring you the hottest camera deals and photography news.

Panning Photography Tips for Amateurs

Running Motorcycle on Road

Photography panning technique is a great way to capture motion in your shots. To achieve the perfect panning shots, there are some visual tricks you should keep in mind. First, make sure to choose a slow shutter speed and follow the movement of your subject with your camera. With practice, you'll easily be able to create stunning panning shots that show the action and energy of your subject.

1. Set a Slow Shutter Speed

To produce stunning panning shots, the shutter speed is a crucial condition. Shutter speed depends on many factors, such as the moving subject light conditions and the photographer's preferences. The slower shutter speed you set, the more blurred background you will get while keeping your subject sharp.

When you start moving your camera along with your subject, hit the shutter button and follow them smoothly until they exit the frame. This technique helps to freeze your subject while blurring out the background and producing a sense of motion in your shot. With a slow shutter speed, you can capture beautiful panning shots that will make everyone envious of your photography skills!

2. Adjust the Camera Focus

Adjusting the camera focus is a crucial step in capturing great panning shots. The optical device that we use to take vivid pictures nowadays comes with an automatic focus feature, but this automatic feature doesn't perform well in panning photography. This is where continuous autofocus comes into play. Many photographers claim that panning photography isn't fitted for continuous autofocus and that it's better to focus manually.

However, focusing manually can be a difficult task, especially if you're new to photography. To overcome this challenge, it's important to have manual control over your camera settings. This will allow you to adjust the focus according to your preferences and capture perfect panning shots every time. So, don't rely solely on the automatic feature of your camera and practice adjusting the focus manually for better results.

3. Select Continuous Shooting Mode

Continuous Shooting Mode is a helpful feature present in most present-day cameras that can produce stunning panning shots. This mode allows you to take multiple photos of a moving subject, which increases your chances of capturing the perfect shot. With continuous shooting mode, you can capture several images at once and select the one with the best composition and focus. This feature can also help you achieve a blurred background, which adds depth and dimension to your photographs.

For amateur photographers who want to produce amazing panning photography results, continuous shooting mode is an essential tool. It allows them to experiment with different settings without worrying about missing the perfect shot. Professional photographers also use this feature to capture fast-moving subjects like athletes or animals. With continuous shooting mode, they can create a series of images that tell a story and capture the essence of the moment.

In conclusion, selecting continuous shooting mode is crucial if you want to capture stunning panning shots. Whether you're an amateur or a professional photographer, this feature will help you achieve your desired results. So next time you're out taking photographs of moving subjects, make sure to try out continuous shooting mode for better outcomes!

4. Disable Image Stabilization

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to capturing perfect panning shots is forgetting to disable their camera's image stabilization mechanism. This feature is typically found in most modern Nikon photography cameras, and while it can be incredibly helpful in other situations, it can actually hinder your ability to get the stunning results you're after.

To realize your panning photography ideas, it's important to switch off image stabilization on your camera. This will prevent the camera from trying to correct for any motion it detects, which can cause blurring and ultimately ruin your shot. Instead, rely on camera supports or even your own body mechanics to stabilize the device as you pan across your subject. If your camera has an advanced image stabilization mode, try switching it to 2 mode which ignores motion and only focuses on preventing camera shaking.

5. Choose the Vibration Reduction Edge

When it comes to taking panning shots, choosing the right Vibration Reduction (VR) Edge can make all the difference. While normal VR edges do a great job of reducing camera shake when shooting still subjects, they may not be enough when your subject moves chaotically. This is where the Active mode feature comes in handy, which compensates for any movement caused by moving parts or a horse rider galloping past you.

Additionally, if you're taking panning shots and want to ensure sharp images, opt for the normal edge mode. This feature is designed to stabilize vertical movement while allowing horizontal movement, making it perfect for capturing smooth surface movements like cars, boats or bikes passing by. By choosing the right VR edge for your specific shooting situation, you'll be able to capture stunning panning shots with ease and confidence.

6. Differentiate Between Panning Vs. Motion Blur

Panning and motion blur are two distinct concepts in photography. Panning involves moving the camera horizontally while following a moving subject to capture a panning shot, while motion blur occurs when the camera captures a moving subject or background which results in minimal blurring.

The main difference between panning and motion blur lies in the direction of movement. In panning shots, the camera follows a moving subject while keeping it in focus, resulting in an effect pan that keeps the main subject sharp while blurring the moving background. On the other hand, motion blur is caused by capturing a moving subject or background without following its movement with an optical device.

In conclusion, mastering photography panning is crucial for capturing stunning images of a moving subject with minimal blurring. Understanding the difference between panning and motion blur can help you achieve better results when dealing with fast-moving objects or scenes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take good photos of motorsports?

To take good photos of motorsports, use a fast shutter speed, track the subject with your camera, and experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture the action. Practice makes perfect, so keep shooting and refining your techniques.

Is panning good for photojournalism?

Yes, panning can be a useful technique in photojournalism as it can convey movement and action in a still image. However, its use should be judicious and not compromise the accuracy or integrity of the news story being told.

How to take a good panning shot of a racecar?

Use a slow shutter speed and track the car with your camera as it passes by, keeping it in the same spot in your viewfinder. Experiment with different shutter speeds for different effects.

How to take a panning photo?

To take a panning photo, set your camera to a slow shutter speed and follow the moving subject with your camera while taking the shot. This will create a blurred background and sharp subject, giving the illusion of motion in your photo.

What makes a good panning shot?

A good panning shot involves smoothly following a moving subject with your camera while keeping it in focus, resulting in a dynamic and visually engaging shot. To achieve this, use a slow shutter speed, keep your body stable and practice your timing.

Featured Images:

Profile photo of Isaiah Carletti

Isaiah Carletti

Writer at The Filtered Lens

View His Articles

Isaiah Carletti is an accomplished writer with years of experience in the industry. He has honed his craft through various mediums, including print, online, and broadcast media. Isaiah has developed a keen eye for storytelling and knows how to engage his audience through his writing.

View His Articles