motion blur

Motion Blur

Many photographers are very passionate about capturing movement or fast-moving subjects. But many new photographers want to capture sharp images as they don’t know the arts of motion blur. Understanding it, you can take your photography to the next level. But there are many things to learn to control this effect.

Sports photography, car racing, night photography, etc. are the best area for creating motion blur. In this article, we will guide you on how to capture this effect in the photo with some basic techniques.

If you are passionate about photography, explore our latest tips about photography. Enrich your photography knowledge by reading family photography, wedding photography, long exposure photography, car photography, and many more.

What is Motion Blur in Photography?

Motion blur is an effect that happens when capturing a moving subject. You can take this type of shots with long camera exposures. If you track the subject at the same speed, then the subject will appear sharp in the image. But the effect needs different speed between the subject and your camera.

As I said before, photographers try to avoid blurred motion in the photo. But sometimes, they also use motion blur in photography to capture action & moving subjects. Read the full article to learn all the basics of capturing blur effect in the photo.

motion blur effect

Camera Gear for Motion Blur Photography

  • Using Manual Mode: For creating motion blur in the photo, you will need a camera with manual mode. Using the manual mode of the camera, you can keep the aperture open for a long time.
  • Using Tripod: You will need a tripod to keep your camera steady. Without a tripod, the distracting blur will appear in the photo. So, if you want to control the motion blur in your way, use a tripod.
  • Neutral Density Filters: With the density filters (ND Filter), you can cut the light coming into the lens. It allows for longer exposures, even in the daylight.
ND Filter

Techniques for Creating Motion Blur

There are many techniques for creating blurry movement in the still images. But we have outlined some basics and the most effective techniques here. Follow the methods and experiment with your camera to create motion blur.

Use Slower Shutter Speed

To create an artistic blur, you need to use a slow shutter speed. It will allow you to capture blurry actions or movement. Slow shutter speed means, using longer shutter speed. If you use faster shutter speed, your subject has to move fast enough. Otherwise, you cannot capture any movement. On the other hand, if you are using longer shutter speed (minimum 5 seconds), your subject doesn’t need to move very fast.

Use Panning

Panning is the most popular technique to create motion blur. In this case, moving your camera in a particular direction will allow you to make this effect. To take a panning shot, you have to follow the direction of the moving object with the camera. You may need to move the camera horizontally, left to right or vice versa.

But only moving the camera, you cannot take a perfect panning shot. You have to set the shutter speed slower (1/30th of a second) while taking panning shot. Keep your subject in the focus so that it will appear sharp. But the background will make a nice blurry effect.

Panning shot of a car

Use Shutter Priority Mode

Shutter speed has a great impact on capturing motion blur. You can use manual mode or shutter priority mode in this case. When you choose shutter priority mode, your camera will fix the shutter speed for you. Thus, you can get a well-exposed shot. But if you are confident enough, then choose manual mode to have control over shutter speed.

Use Small Apertures

When there is too much light, using small apertures allows you to cut down the amount of light. Aperture works to control the light that enters into the camera. It is like a hole, and you can change the size of the hole to control the amount of light.

When you are shooting in shutter priority mode, the camera will adjust the aperture automatically. But if you are in manual mode, you need to increase or decrease it according to the length of shutter speed.

Use Lower ISO

Another technique to compensate for the huge amount of light is decreasing the ISO in camera. When you are using a longer shutter speed, it takes extra light into your camera. So using lower ISO will allow you to adjust the amount of light.

Normally, ISO controls the sensitivity of the image sensor to light. The higher ISO makes the sensor more sensitive. And the lower ISO will make the sensor less sensitive. So, choosing a lower ISO number will allow you to use a longer shutter speed. However, longer shutter speed is perfect for capturing motion blur.

Use Slow Sync Flash

Many digital cameras contain this feature. It enables you to fire the flash at a slower shutter speed. Using a slow sync flash will be helpful in a very low light situation. You can also have a perfect illuminated subject by using this.

When you are trying to capture a moving subject with the panning technique, you can use it. In that case, you need to stabilize the camera to avoid camera shake. A tripod will be the most helpful then. Look at the below picture which captured by using slow sync flash.

Example of using slow sync flash


Motion blur makes still images amazing. It also conveys a sense of motion inside the picture. Capture the effect in the photo by practising these basic techniques. Capturing motion blur may be tough at first. But experimenting with your camera more and more will make it easier. You can practice it with any moving subject. There is another way to create this effect in the images. You can try to create a motion blur effect in Photoshop.

What is the best ISO for motion blur?

When you are shooting in the bright daylight, ISO 100 is ok. But for night photography, you may need to increase ISO.

What is motion blur in games?

In games, motion blur is a graphics setting which makes your surroundings to blur. It is used when the main character in the game moves very quickly.