Some Basic Tips On Panning Photography

Panning Photography

Panning Shot of Taxi
Panning Shot of Taxi (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Panning Photography allows you to take some special effects shots with virtually all cameras by setting your camera manually with settings and tracking techniques which are very simple. This article will give you some basic tips to accomplish your panning techniques.

Panning Shot of Cyclist
Panning Shot of Cyclist (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Panning Photography Tips

The concept of panning a shot is simply adjusting your camera to manual settings and moving along (your camera horizontally from right to left) with the fast moving subject in focus. As the photographer, you have to be positioned in a stationary spot and use a monopod to stabilize the camera. I have not used either a monopod or tripod in these shots but will on future attempts.

Panning Fire Truck
Panning Fire Truck (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

Some of the camera setting suggestions include:

  1. Set camera to manual
  2. Set camera to “Continuous Auto Focus” (AF-C Nikon or AI Servo for Canon)
  3. Aperture settings at f/16 or higher (keep in mind if sunny or not)
  4. Lower ISO – preferably under 100
  5. A slow shutter speed of 1/15 to 1/20 per second
  6. It is recommended to use a monopod or higher end tripod that has a good “swivelling” mechanism (I have not used in these shots)

Remember to slightly adjust these settings depending if lighting conditions are sunny or cloudy (i.e. ISO).

TTC Streetcar Panning Shot
TTC Streetcar Panning Shot (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

The purpose of panning photography is to get a special effect of blurring the background, focusing on the subject and a concept of speed and motion.  Adjust your camera settings as described above and focus/pan along with the subject to get the desired effect.

Porsche Panning Shot
Porsche Panning Shot (photo by Bruce Christie 2016)

I hope some of these suggestions of panning photography have been helpful. If you need any other help, or can suggest additional tips, please let me know by commenting on my blog.

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