Home ยป How to take a panning photo using your smartphone camera

How to take a panning photo using your smartphone camera

by Antony Pratap
How to take a panning photo using mobile phone

Capturing action shots is something fun to do and be amazed at what result it produced. Photos that have vehicles frozen but with a blurred backdrop creating a motion blur is termed panning photo. I’m sure you would have noticed such photos on the Internet. Most photogs or street photographers, capture such scenes. Have you tried to take such shots on your mobile phone? Yes, it is possible.

What is panning in photography really mean?

Panning is a technique where the subject or object is in focus, usually sharp, with a blurred or hazy background that is achieved with manual settings on your camera or even with camera movement. Swaying the camera from left to right, or right to left with the right camera settings can achieve this result.

What is required to get a panning shot using mobile?

  • You need a mobile phone with a clean camera.
  • A camera app that allows you to change settings manually. (iPhone’s native camera does not allow you, hence you may have to install an app that allows you to control its settings. Example: Adobe Mobile Lightroom) You can get it from the App Store, or Play Store on your mobile.
  • Enough light to be able to view the object.

How to get a panning shot or photo using a mobile phone?

Firstly, this technique or style of photography requires patience and a lot of practice, a lot indeed. Mostly if you are starting you will get photos that make you think there is something wrong with your mobile phone. Blurry or ghostly images.

Keep your hands steady and try to move your phone towards the direction in which the subject or vehicle or object is moving. With a slow-shutter setting on your camera app, the subject can be in focus and the motion will be captured which would be blurred.

  1. Launch your camera app and switch to the Professional mode. You should be able to access the camera settings like Shutter speed, ISO, Aperture, etc.
  2. Tap and select the Shutter speed setting.
  3. Choose a low-shutter setting, 1/80 for example. Depending on the ambient light available and the movement speed of your object, you can choose 1/60 and 1/8 of a second and try to see the effects. The lower the number goes, your view on the screen is going to be shaky or wobbly.
  4. Set the ISO in line with the ambient light. For example, ISO 200. (The lower the better during daylight)
  5. Fix the focus on the moving subject or object.
  6. Move your phone along with the subject, tap, and click many shots. Out of 10 photos, one may be good.
  7. If you are holding an object and trying out this trick, you can move from the left to the right and right to the left while taking the shots as seen in the video below.
  8. You can then choose the image you like and edit them using Snapseed or Lightroom to make it pop.

User Anagha Peethambaran on Instagram has posted a video of how to take a panning shot while at home.

View the video:


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