Dos and Don'ts of panning

Started Aug 24, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Trevor Carpenter
Trevor Carpenter Forum Pro • Posts: 15,442
Dos and Don'ts of panning

Several people have complimented my panning pictures so I thought I'd publish a few tips. I learn't much of this from another UK photographer.

Don't try to grab panning shots you will get many failures. Do plan your shot and get into position.

Don't think those 3/4 shots will look good, they won't because getting the subject in 100% focus will be next to impossible. Do try to shoot from a parallel position to the action.

Do stand correctly, legs on that imaginary parallel line and make your movement from your hips, not legs, not neck.

Don't take that zoom out to the end. Every extra bit will make the job harder. Zoom back and remember that the background is important in panning shots so you don't need to fill the whole frame with the main subject.

Similarly, do step back, you may not want to be as close as you would for a non panning, high shutter speed shot.

As I said above Background is important so consider it in your planning. Do experiment with monocolour backgrounds and complex ones to see what you like and how they impact the main subject.

Don't get over ambitious with those shutter speeds. Start with 1/200 (panning effect minimal) while you develop that technique and get slower in increments. That 1/30 second shot is a long way away but you may get there someday, I haven't got there apart from a few lucky shots.

Do expect failures you will get some.

Understand your IS and experiment with what works best. I shoot with Dual IS2 on all the time on my Pannys but I wouldn't say this is necessarily the best solution but it works for me.

The one I'm not sure of is single shot, fast burst, medium burst, slow burst. What I do know is that in bursts you will often get that perfect shot in amongst the failures.

I hope that somebody finds this useful. If you have anything to add, please do.

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