Joyce Kang: Quick Tip on Panning with Film

panning with Joyce Kang on film 1 I love playing with shutter speeds:  slowing it down to capture motion blur or speeding it up to freeze a great moment.  These two methods are the most popular ways to express movement in a photograph.  Another way to freeze motion while capturing motion blur is panning.  Panning is definitely a skill that comes with practice...and lots of trial and errors (omg, I had a lot of these for sure).  However, when you are panning with film, the cost can get quite high if you don't even know where to begin.   Today, I want to share a "tried and true" quick tip on panning with film:

  • Plane of focus - make sure your subject is moving across your frame in the same plane of focus
  • Close aperture - to allow greater depth of field.  I normally start out at f8 or f11 depends on the speed of film, the light and the shutter speed I am using.
  • Slow shutter speed - slower than 1/15 of a second is the best to capture motion blur of the background
  • Switch on manual focus - pre-forcus where your subject will be using manual focus.  Auto focus doesn't work very well with panning, unfortunately.
  • Same focus point - decide where you'd want to place your subject composition-wise ahead of the time. Because as you pan and move with the subject, you'll need to keep your moving subject at that same focus spot in your frame through the entire shot.
  • wide stance and elbow in - this sounds like a yoga pose and can possibly end up on one of those "funny photographer poses" articles.  But, it will ensure the best and sharpest focus of your subject: place your feet at least shoulder width or wider so you have a firm and stable lower body AND tuck the elbow of the hand that's holding the camera in and tight against your body...think tripod...sorta.
  • Body weight - starting by place your body weight on either your right or left leg, depends on the direction of subject is moving into your frame.
    • For example on the image above, I placed my weight on my right leg since my son is coming into the frame from the right.
  • Move it real slow - as the subject move across the frame in your camera's view finder, you will need to  shift your weight to the opposite leg as you pan.  This weight-shifting motion should be smooth, fluid and controlled.
    • For example on the image above, I started with my weight on my right leg.  As my son moves across my viewfinder, while keeping him in the same spot, I move my body weight to my left leg in one smooth controlled motion.

Now you have the tip on how to pan with film, I want to see some shares on Little Bellow Facebook wall.  Happy shooting friends! xx

panning on film by joyce kang 2


Little Bellows Team Member:  Joyce Kang©Joycekangphotography-

Joyce Kang is a children & family photographer in Austin Texas.  She is also a mentor and an instructor for Embrace The Grain, an intro to film photography workshop.  She is married to her best friend and enjoys outdoors with her family.  Her favorite gear line-up includes a Rolleiflex 2.8c, a Pentax 67 and a Nikon Fe2.  She loves to indulge in a good book, and suffers from knitting-yarn-hoarding syndrome, and has a terrible addiction to any thing that tops with a heaping scoop of ice cream drizzled with chocolate fudge!  She has been featured and published in international photography blogs and magazines such as Click Magazine, Lemonade and Lenses.

Follow Joyce and see more of her work at: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+