Motion blur

Do you remember the first color postcards, I would say the early 80s, in which you could see American cities with the sparkling lights of cars that, in the photo, created long trails? Well, from the distant 80s this photographic effect who knows how many times we have seen them and, maybe, sometimes, we have also tried to imitate this effect. What effect are we talking about? Of the “motion blur”: in Italian it would translate into blurred in motion but, since I don’t like it as a translation, I prefer to keep the original English terminology. But how do you get the motion blur effect? In this guide I propose to give us 5 tips to make it happen in your shots without resorting to apps or post processing programs

Shutter speed

It goes without saying that the most impacted element when it comes to photos with motion blur effect is the shutter speed which is nothing more than a number (a fraction in reality) that indicates the amount of time the shutter is open. to capture the image. As in the high-speed images we talked about here it was necessary to have very low shutter speeds, in motion blur, which is exactly the opposite, we need high ones. Now I already know that you are wondering what a good shutter speed is for motion blur photos. This time you find me “partially” unprepared in the sense that I can’t think of an average speed that is passable for all situations; the wake effect in fact depends a lot on the speed of the subject. In fact, if you are filming a moving car then you will need a faster shutter speed than if you want to create a trail from a candle carried by a pedestrian. Experiment.

Less openness

One of the problems that you will easily run into by “chasing” the motion blur effect will be that of having overexposed photos. You will therefore have to think locally about how to reduce or at least control the amount of light that reaches your reflex. One piece of advice I would like to give you with respect to this problem is to restrict the focal aperture; the smaller the aperture, the less light it will eventually hit your sensor.

Lower the ISOs

It is likely that even following the advice provided so far you may not be able to obtain the blur effect as you have seen it in the photos taken by professionals in the sector. It is therefore time for me to give you a third tip that could be very useful when you are in the field which is to decrease the ISO. Having high ISOs means having a very sensitive sensor, while going too low would lead to under exposure. My advice is, when your camera allows it, to manually configure your ISO starting from a target value of 100. From here on, try to go down by taking photos from time to time. It is very likely that at some point on your descent you will have to stop, due to technical limits imposed by your own camera, for example at 50 ISO. The idea is to try again and see at what amount of ISO you can achieve the planned or hoped-for effect.

Stabilize your camera

I have already written it to you and I will repeat it to you. If you think of doing all the fashion catwalk style photographers of the 80s who also did somersaults while taking pictures and thus obtaining valuable effects, you are just out of the way. Especially if we talk about particular effects such as blur. If you want to get the best results, you don’t just have to stabilize your camera, you have to lock it! As? Well the simplest way is to use a tripod. If it is not available, you can try placing the camera on a very stable element such as a table or the floor. Another thing: do not press on the shutter yourself. Use or remote shutter control systems or at least, if your camera does not support this technology, set a self-timer.

Who moves?

There is an exception to the point just described. That is, there are situations in which it is not the subject that moves but the camera itself. This is a technique that I report to you just as a curiosity because you will hardly be able to exploit it. What’s it about? First of all we say that it is a technique that is NOT used when the subject is moving quickly. On the contrary, it could be used, for example, to photograph a Chinese candle that rises towards the night sky: a subject that has two particular characteristics, namely a low speed and a uniform and dark background. On the contrary, do not try to get motion blur by moving your camera because, in 90% of cases you will end up having the blur effect not only on the moving subject but also on everything else.