Radial Blur and Panning

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”
— Irving Penn

Knowledge is power, as true a statement as any in everything that we do in our journey through life, and when it comes to photography, it is no different.

One of the few questions I get asked frequently is "how did I learn about photography"? or, "How did I get better at taking pictures"?, or even "how did I develop my own style of photography"? Well I will refer to the above sentence – knowledge is power!

I have spent many hours practicing, researching, and understanding other photographers work and playing around in a relaxed and calm environment so that when I have a similar situation out in the field I am prepare and equipped with the knowledge to get the shot.

The beauty of photography is that there is always something new to learn or try out. Every photographer has developed a style they call their own and one of the best ways to develop such a style is to play around with different methods, pick what you like, forget what you don’t like and mould them into something that resonates with you.

There are two methods I would like to share with you, panning and radial blur. These two methods are quite tricky to master, and certainly not everyones 'cup of tea', but the fun is in the challenge itself.

I use these two techniques mainly when there isn’t much going on in a picture, in bad light or when I have got the shot I’m after and want to try explore different, more challenging techniques.


  • Mode: TV/S
  • Low shutter speed – anything between 1/10 and 1/60 depending on the speed of the subject. Subjects moving faster will blur at higher shutter speeds
  • Try pan smoothly at the same pace as the subject and take continuous images whilst doing so
  • Although some sharpness in these images is nice to have, this technique is perhaps the forgiving in the outcome
  • Practice

Radial Blur and Panning


Radial Blur:

  • Mode: TV/S
  • Slow shutter speed – The slower the shutter the better
  • A steady hand is essential to creating smooth lines – best scenario is to use a tripod/monopod
  • Start zoomed in and focused on your subject, then, while pressing the shutter, smoothly zoom out (you need a zoom lens 70-200, 100-400 etc)
  • Using a slow shutter speed works very well in low light conditions and is always a good time to play around with this technique


Radial Blur and Panning

Both these methods are difficult to master, having said that you can have a lot of fun while practicing and it is hugely rewarding when you get it right.

When it comes to photography it is always good to play around with new techniques. Once one has fired of the 'shot' and got the desired result, instead of firing a couple more of the same image rather experiment and challenge yourself. Light and external elements are not always in the photographers favour and this affords you the opportunity to try new things.

Knowledge is power.

Until next time,


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