One of the most difficult things to capture, as a photographer, is a true sense of movement. Thankfully, there are one or two techniques that can allow you to show how exciting a scene really is, and we’ll discuss these in this handy beginner’s guide.

Show Motion With Blur

Whether you’re shooting with a high-end DSLR or a year-old camera phone, the key to creating a dynamic exposure is to show motion blur. There are two main ways to do this; the first is to blur your subject, and the second is to blur everything around your subject. The type of subject you’re shooting and the capabilities of your device will determine which you decide to use, but don’t worry; both can capture motion for great photos!

Capture Motion With a Camera Phone

Camera phones these days pack as much power as point-and-shoots used to, and even if you can’t really control shutter speed, there’s one trick in particular that will allow you to shoot beautiful exposures that capture motion. This trick is called Panning.

Panning will allow you to create photos in which the subject is clear and the background is blurred, regardless of what equipment you have – and the effect is super simple to achieve. To do so, simply move your camera with your subject. This means that you should be moving the camera itself; if your subject is moving from left to right, your camera will either turn (as if on an axis) or move from left to right (as if on a miniature skateboard) to match the movement of the subject. The slower shutter speeds of camera phones means that while your subject will stay in focus, the background will be blurred, giving the impression that your subject is moving.

Capturing Motion With a DSLR

If you’re shooting with a DSLR camera, you will have a few more options regarding how to capture motion blur. You will be able to use the Panning method discussed above, but you’ll also be able to use the more traditional Slow Shutter method. This is particularly used to capture fast-moving subjects in a static environment, like a train moving through the countryside or cars driving on highways at night.

To do this, you should ensure that your ISO and aperture are appropriate for your shooting conditions; as the slower shutter speed will let in a lot of light, you might need to set the ISO lower than normal and ensure that you’re on a smaller aperture to avoid over exposure if you’re shooting in the daytime. If shooting at night, a wide aperture and higher ISO will be necessary.

Ideally, you should set your DSLR camera on a tripod for this – but if you don’t have one, resting it on a static surface will work. Get your subject in focus, (subjects that move on tracks like trains are useful for learning this method) and when you’re ready, shoot the exposure. Play around with the shutter speed; when it’s slow enough, your subject will be blurred and the static environment around it will be still. 

Adding Motion Blur With PicsArt

If you didn’t manage to capture motion the way you wanted to during your shoot, you can always add motion blur during the editing process. This can also be effective and it gives you more freedom to apply the blur precisely where you want it. You can do this by using PicsArt’s Focal Zoom effect in the Distort section of the Effects menu.

All of these methods can create beautiful, artistic shots – so whatever device you shoot with, play around with different ways to capture motion and see how they work. Also don’t forget to upload your shots to your PicsArt account, to show everyone how you got on!