MOVING IMAGES
Photography week|September 16, 2021
Forget shake-free shots – Adam Waring shows how moving your camera can result in artistic imagery
Adam Waring

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ESSENTIAL PHOTO SKILLS MADE EASY

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As conventional wisdom has it, you should avoid moving your camera at all costs during an exposure, lest your shots suffer from camera shake. The usual solution is to shoot at a high enough shutter speed so that the involuntary movements we all make go unrecorded. The ‘one over’ rule dictates using a shutter speed at least as fast as your lens’s focal length, so 1/50 sec on a 50mm lens. If you can’t shoot at a high enough shutter speed, then you need to place your camera on a tripod, and for those times when you need to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds you can call on the stabilistation systems in your camera body and/or lens.

But in this project we’re going to ignore all that, and deliberately move our camera at a slow shutter speed to record movement in our image. It’s a technique known as intentional camera movement (ICM), and it can result in wonderfully painterly images that give an impression of your subject rather than rendering it sharply; you just need to make sure that the movement is deliberate enough so that it doesn’t just look like you’ve made a mistake.

You can move your camera back and forth, up and down or from side to side. The beauty of ICM is that no two shots will be the same, and it’s definitely a case of trial and error in both choosing the right shutter speed and moving the camera just enough to get a pleasing image, so it pays to take plenty of shots. There are a few variations on the effect to try too, which we’ll explore over the page.

STEP BY STEP HOW TO CREATE ARTISTIC IMAGERY

1 WHAT SPEED?

It depends on what you’re shooting, but you don’t need super-long shutter speeds. Set Shutter Priority mode and start off with a shutter speed of around a second; any longer and your recorded movement will likely become too erratic. Aperture is less important, as nothing in the image will be particularly sharp anyway.

2 USE A TRIPOD!

But isn’t the point to move the camera? Well, for many ICM techniques, the aim is to restrict the movement to a single plane. A panning head is great for side-to-side movements, while a three-way head is great for vertical pans, as it’ll enable you to lock off all but your intended axis of movement.

3 AVOID CONTRAST

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