Panning Photography: A Real-Life Photography Technique You Must Learn

Updated on June 23, 2023 in Photography by

Panning Photography: A Real-Life Photography Technique You Must Learn

What may seem like an amazing Photoshop technique in moving photos is actually panning.

If you’re a professional photographer, you must’ve come across this term. But, if you’re an amateur, I believe you’ll want to learn this amazing skill for sure.

Whether you’re a professional or not, panning could be daunting and you must have some special tricks up your sleeves to master this wonderful thing.

In this article, I’ll be telling you 6 perfectly easy, yet effecting panning photography tips that you’ll never have to worry about it again.

What Is Panning In Photography?

Panning Photography

In the world of photography, panning is done when a still or video camera is spun horizontally from a fixed position.

It is similar to the motion that happens when a person moves his head from left to right.

The idea behind panning photography is the technique in which you follow your camera parallel to the time with the moving subject and in the end, you get a relatively sharp subject but a blurry background.

When you look at the final image, you see as if the subject was in speed.

6 Amazing Photography Panning Tips

1. Set the Shutter Priority Mode

Panning Photography

Before performing panning photography, you’ll first want to sell your camera setting to Shutter Priority Mode. this allows you complete control over the shutter speed.

Let me tell you when we talk about the moving subjects, it’s always the Shutter Speed that you must take care of.

Photography panning highly concerns Shutter Speed as much as it doesn’t concern ISO or Aperture. Choosing the Shutter Priority mode will let you control the Shutter Speed while your camera sets the rest of the settings.

This is highly beneficial especially when you’re photographing under different lighting conditions.

Thus, when the light on the subject changes, this mode takes care of the exposure while maintaining the Shutter Speed.

2. Keep the Shutter Speed slow

Panning Photography

As explained, panning photography HIGHLY depends on the shutter speed.

Slower the shutter speed – blurrier subject and faster the shutter speed – no blur but detailed-sharp subject.

Hence, it’s very important that you play carefully in this matter.

To master the photography panning, you’ll want to balance your shutter speed by keeping it between 1/30s (more blur) and 1/125s (less blur).

For example, you may use 1/25s if you’re to capture a race car or fast-moving sports bike. On the other hand, if you’re to capture a runner, you may use 1/30s.

3. Move along at the same level with the subject

Panning Photography

If you really want good results out of your panning photography, then you must move along with your subject. Also, keep the alignment in mind and stay at the same level as the subject.

In the end, the whole idea of panning photography is about shooting the image of a moving subject while panning your camera along with it.

Tip: Follow your subject as the cameraman follows a running athlete. Release the shutter button only when you’re parallel to your subject.

This will make sure that you capture your subject in focus and sharp and have the background blurry.

4. Use a Monopod

Panning Photography

There’s a difference between a blurry background and a shaky subject. You’ll want to photograph your subject ‘un-shaky’.

Using a monopod will allow you to have stability in your panning photography as well as the advantage to move freely.

You may also use a tripod for stability but its legs might bother you while running along with the subject.

Choose your tripod or monopod head very carefully. Some heads are particularly designed for smooth panning photography, while other heads can send your camera in every direction.

5. Use the Auto Focus

Panning Photography

If you’re a beginner at panning photography and can’t anticipate the speed and distance of the subject, Autofocus is your best option.

Turn on your camera’s Autofocus function, slightly press the shutter button to lock on, focus, and pan-moving subject.

Let photography panning continue after fully pressing the shutter, so smooth motion blur can be accomplished from start to finish of your shot.

If you’re a professional and can anticipate the distance, then you may experiment with the manual focus.

6. Keep Practicing

Panning Photography

Panning photography is not a one-time learning game, it requires practice. You can’t learn this technique overnight.

When you’ll start doing it multiple times, you’ll start to understand its base concept. Focus on how it works and try to understand what works best for different situations.

You’ll have to change your game plan with each subject, each setting, and each location.


Panning photography is an amazing photography style that helps you capture images that shows motion and speed. Yes, no need for Photoshop to achieve that! Without the use of any photo editing software, you can nail it with the above-mentioned panning photography tips.

Though panning photography demands practice and experience to master it, there are a few tips that you may utilize to perform it easily and effortlessly.

If you wish to learn more about photography, photo editing, and more, then subscribe to the newsletter below. Also, if you have hundreds or thousands of product images that need editing – get them edited in less than 24 hours! Start your free trial with PixelPhant now👇

Beautiful product images across your website.

Background Removal, Clipping Path, Color Correction, Cropping & Resize, Retouching, adding Shadows, and more.

Try PixelPhant for free
No Card Details Required

Subscribe to our news letter

Hex PixelPhant Private Limited © 2016-24. All rights reserved.