Home Photography Composition Panning Photography Composition Tutorial | How to Photograph Moving Subjects

Panning Photography Composition Tutorial | How to Photograph Moving Subjects

6 min read

Panning is a great photography composition technique you can use to capture a moving subject.

The result is a subject of the photo that is crisp and sharp, while the rest of the composition remains a blur in the background.

Panning is a creative technique used to suggest speed and velocity in a photo. For example, you could focus the camera on a moving car and then follow the vehicle with the camera as it moves from left to right while taking the photo. The car would be in perfect focus while the road is a blur of motion.


Photos by Natesh Ramasamy and neys

To be successful at panning, you just have to follow the movement of the subject with the lens and try to keep up with its speed as well as its direction.

It’s not really that hard to do and it can be mastered, like many other aspects of composition in photography, with simple practice.

We’ll teach you exactly how to photograph moving subjects in this panning photography tutorial.

Here are three easy-to-follow tips if you’d like to try your hand at panning.

1) Slow and steady

Your shutter speed needs to be relatively slow while your hand needs to be steady.

It’s hard to say exactly what the shutter speed should be because it depends on each individual instance and the speed of your subject.

In general, it will usually need to be 1/200th of a second or slower. If the subject is moving quite fast, then start out at 1/200th. If the subject isn’t that hard to keep up with then you might be able to slow things down to about 1/40th of a second.

2) Faster shutter speed = crisper subject

If you’d like to make sure the subject is sharp and clear you will need to use a relatively fast shutter speed for your composition.

As long as the image shows the motion you’re looking for you’ll be successful. The more you practice and get the hang of panning the slower you can go with the shutter speed to show even more motion.

3) Keep the subject consistent

If you can keep the subject in the same area of the frame during exposure you’ll have a better chance of keeping it sharp and crisp. Just remember, it’s always harder to pan the faster the subject is moving. This means it will take some practice to be able to achieve the ideal photography comoposition.

It’s a good idea to start out with slower-moving subjects and then gradually try out faster-moving objects or people.

Don’t become discouraged if you can’t get the hang of panning in one afternoon. Just make sure you keep the camera as steady as possible and then follow the subject while trying to keep it in the frame. Don’t get ahead of the subject or behind it. The timing needs to be steady and this will take practice.

We hope you enjoyed this panning photography tutorial on how to photography moving subjects. Leave a comment below sharing your experiences using this technique.


  1. More Photography Links That Are Made of Win

    August 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

    […] locally, but last minute technicalities precluded this.  You never know when it’ll happen to you.Panning Photography Tutorial | How to Photograph Moving Subjects – this brief list of tips and tricks is full of great information for those who are trying to […]


    August 21, 2012 at 6:27 am

    So for I have not tried this photography. I shall try this panning. The tips given by you is very useful.3F

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