There is a big difference between accidental blur and intentional motion blur that captures a sense of movement and energy.
Capturing the drama and grace of moving subjects takes practice and skill and your camera is a powerful and creative tool, capable of producing images that convey speed, energy and passion.
Ernst Haas, an Austrian photographer, was a pioneer of creative blur, using it to produce amazing shots. What makes them so compelling is that you feel you are almost there, experiencing the tension and excitement. When blur is introduced the subject comes to life.
How much blur you introduce depends on the subject and the effect you want to create. A little will add a sense of movement. Introducing more blur will transport you into the realms of abstract photography where the subject is hard to identify and the idea of motion takes centre stage.
The main factors you need to consider are how quickly your subject is moving, the direction it’s moving in relation to the camera, and the shutter speed you use. The key is to experiment. Try different shutter speeds on different subjects and you will gradually come to know which shutter speed will give you the effect you want.
There are various ways of introducing blur into your images beyond simply setting a slow shutter speed; you can even make stationary subjects appear to be moving. Here are a few examples to get you started.
When you move your camera during exposure nothing comes out sharp in the image, but you could also use it strategically. When you move the camera vertically when photographing trees for example, the trunks will appear more elongated and the branches and foliage will be blurred.
Panning your camera in the direction of your subject’s movement will blur the background, but it will make your subject relatively sharp.
You could also try zoom bursting with a zoom lens. You simply zoom the lens through the range of its focal length while making the exposure. Your subject will be recorded as a series of colourful streaks that appear to explode from the centre of the image. Any bold, colourful subject is suitable for zooming and they don’t even need to be moving, as the zooming itself introduces the motion.
I hope this will get your creative juices spilling over. Experimenting with blur is a lot of fun. Try to capture something unique and interesting. Post your images on our Facebook page with #MotionBlur. And remember, if you are having fun you are doing it right!