Photographing Motion


Think Like a Photographer


Lesson Info

Photographing Motion

one concept I think about when in the field is always trying to present the viewer whoever sees my images with something they're not used to seeing because the more I can do that the more interest my photos usually have because otherwise they could have taken it you know what there I felt her something so part of that we talked about before was isolating things by getting the backgrounds out of focus or only capturing the brighter dark parts letting the rest of the scene go to black or white those kinds of things that they're not used to seeing but other things that just people with her cell phones and things taking photos aren't used to seeing is motion especially if you do motion in ways that are useful so if you think about your f stops in what they actually control it's how big the opening is in your lens how much light is being allowed through and as you goto lower numbers you let a lot of light through and therefore your shutter speeds could be pretty fast because you've got a lo...

t of light you don't need very much of it to capture your photo but as you get to the other range the really big numbers it's gonna cut the amount of light coming through your lens and it might be enough where you could get some motion blur in your shot so if I had up towards the end of this range and if it still isn't enough to get a slow shutter speed I can put a neutral density filter in front of my lens to push it even further let's look a few of the things we might be able to capture so first this is a bar actually and I'm shooting the ceiling this bar is covered in money every surface in there on the ceiling is full of dollar bills people with their names on them and stick him to the ceiling it's a little bit of a fire hazard but this is what we get but if I do a long enough shutter long enough exposure I should say I get motion in those because the air conditioning is blowing on them and to me it can create a different look than just a static image let's go get some other examples this is ways that idea with tourists if you have tourists in a scene oftentimes they don't look all that great they're wearing lousy t shirts that are you know part of the actual scene that kind of stuff but if you do a long enough exposure you can get him blurred and then they become an interesting visual element and they give scale to whatever it is you're shooting and it's not a bad thing necessarily then except for this one guy checking some text messages or messing with this camera I could re touch him out because he'll still here's that same bar and usually I wouldn't want all these people in it necessarily just sitting there but do long enough exposure where they're moving around and they just become an element and to me it's not quite the same as having a blatant person also you'll notice that the closer something is to your camera the more pronounced the motion is the further away something is from the camera less pronounced the motion is so if we have anything moving the part that's really close to your camera is going to get much more motion blur when the part that's further away from the camera so here all these guys are walking at about the same speed but if I get some of them really close to the camera and others farther away then I get more of a variation in that motion blur and so it's one thing I could think about occasionally you know just get him to blur into the frame could be kind of interesting that image hasn't been optimized but it's straight at the camera here I'm in moscow in the subway system doesn't look too exciting to me but get a train blurring by where I can see the same information it's still these signs but now there's something in there where I'm not quite sure what it is just looking at it but it's got some interest to it because there's text that I'm not used to seeing at least in the us here and then there's some element that goes along with that which to me just have a little mystery and little interest to it here's some horses in iceland I just experiment with longer exposures get some of their emotion people harvard and seen a winery but it could really add a lot more action to it if everything's frozen then it's what everybody's used to see here's some fish I'm looking straight down from a bridge and people are throwing food at the fish here's where I have not that slow the shutter speed but then if I experiment point my lands straight down so I get none of the bridge in there at all and then just experiment with different shutter speeds and take a lot of photos any time you end up doing longer exposures instead of taking one shot and getting it you're going to be taken thirty shots or something like that to see which one really gets it best and I like this one because there are two fish over here they're pretty still there is just enough to tell me what these are if those weren't there I probably would just be asking what this is and then there's the motion of the fish I think it's kind of fun same with birds with birds and things you probably need a pan your camera said that you try to follow the bird in your viewfinder as it's going across in the more precisely you match their motion the less blurred they will be in their bodies and on lee their wings will be blurred but sometimes I just get a blurry mass and I think it looks kind of interesting so anyway think about tryingto think of the world what would it look like from blurry perspective when it comes to motion blur kes it's quite different and it's not what everybody is used to seeing so it's one thing I always experiment with the way I do it as I lower the esso setting on my camera to make it less sensitive to light and I close down my aperture michael to have sixteen sometimes even f twenty two and if that's not enough to give me a slow shutter speed I put a neutral density filter in front of my lens and then experiment with all sorts of shutter speeds and then experiment take lots and lots of pictures in order to get the one or two good ones one other thing I do when it comes to motion blur is cars when I'm out in the field during the daytime I am always thinking about where would there be good things to shoot right after I'm done shooting sunset everybody else seems to pack up and go home where I want to keep shooting and so I always look for nice curved roads with interesting scenery around it and right after the sun goes down there's about a half an hour period where there's enough light to light the surroundings but it's getting a little bit dark soon get longer exposures and in this case him on a tripod and I could get along enough exposure where it's enough time for a car to drive thru and those are the tail lights of the car and so there was the headlights of the car if you only want to get a portion of it you need a a briefer of exposure or you can have something like a black card that you've put in front of the lens of the camera and then pull it out so that you could say I don't want this street to go all the way through the frame there for I'll start with the black card in front of my lens and I wait until the car just gets into the frame just a little bit in then I pull it out of the way and I'll put the black card in front of the lens again right before it gets out and then it's a little easier to control then your actual shutter there's multiple cars going by in a single exposure and so on the only thing is be careful if you're camera gets to the same height as any headlights if the headlights come and hit the front end of your lens directly you're going to see any dust that's on the lens you're also going to see all these little shapes here which are the shape of your aperture hover big the opening is so I usually would try to be a little bit above or a little bit below the height of the headlights therefore I won't get that glare because it's not much different than the sun hitting the front element of your lens but when I do this I'm not just looking for a curvy road oftentimes I'm looking for a foreground the mid ground in the background kind of thing to put together here is too different shots from the same location slightly different times but then at a thirty minutes after the sun goes down you hit twilight well great when the sun goes down you go twilight but thirty minutes later there's a different kind of twilight where it's dark enough to get really long exposures but the sky is still blue what really happens is the sun goes down you have thirty minutes when it's still pretty darn bright then you have thirty more minutes where it's dark but the sky still blue then one hour after sunset usually sky starts going black so you have a special little time and I used that special time quite frequently here's an example notice that the blue sky is in there that's a nice time to shoot me on because it will be dark enough you get nice saturated colors in here with the neon but you can still get the interest of the blue sky because I find after it's been one hour after sunset the sky just becomes a black mass and it's not very interesting and so therefore I'd rather not have it in the photo I'd rather do detail shots of the neon sign then where the sky isn't a big part of the scene but I think the difference between this shot and this one is the sky really makes it I actually like this composition a little bit better because it hides some of the elements in the background in other things but I didn't capture that one until after it was an hour after sunset sky was black so this is the shot that I use because the sky helps make it so here just a couple other car streak ones so when it during the day I'm always in my brain thinking are there any interesting roads usually curves in the roads help to make them look interesting and then what can I put along with that curve is therefore ground element do I want to do it we're to silhouette like this or do I want to do it where you can actually see what's in that area just have to do a longer exposure to see what's in the surroundings and then I got a quick question for you how much pre visualization do you do with your artwork as faras do you when you approach face you sort of figure out the logistics of how you want to shoot and what you want to shoot or is it something as you're driving along approaching an assignment you you have a good ideas to what you're going to tackle it really depends on how I tackle it sometimes I just encounter something you know I'm walking down the street and something happens either an event happens that I think is interesting I want to capture or I'm just driving by and I don't have timeto come back later or something else and I just have to get what I get but other times if I know I'm going to be there from multiple days then during the daytime I'm scouting I'm looking around and thinking about what might this look like in a different time of day when may be the son is lower in the sky and warmer longer shadows that kind of thing and I'm scoping these places out so I can come back to them so it really depends if I'm going to spend multiple days they're my mindset is quite different but if I'm only there for that moment in time capture what I can you know it's it varies considerably well thank you and also with car streaks it doesn't have to be you stationary in the cars moving we're driving back from shooting one night and I just jammed my camera between the side of the car like the door kind of area the car in the seat and I'm just constantly hitting the shutter taking photos and here we're moving so the lights air streaming by us but it's just I don't want stop shooting you know all right other little ideas is whenever I'm out shooting I'm really pour it remembering where I shot everything and I'll show you one piece of gear that I used to keep track of that actually two options in it but even there if I have sight on a map it doesn't mean I know what everything's called so I'm always taking pictures of signs of wherever it is I'm going what I'm in iceland are you going to remember that name I'm not gonna what about those or those look at that thing s so I'm taking pictures of all the places that I'm going to so I can remember when I get back to those images what was that thing called that includes any informational signs s so then I can put those into my notes or at least I can read them again if the picture ends up being something people are interested in I could tell him a little bit about it and so that's one thing I'm thinking about also in the field then sometimes my subject matter it's much more abstract because I'm not always trying to take a picture of a thing I'm just trying to create an interesting visual and so this image was taken on lee ana listen a half a mile from here it's over by the space needle here in seattle and all it wass is there's the's flags I didn't get an in focus shot of him but these flags were moving around and I saw them I saw the color and the flags and I just thought well that's interesting stuff to me it drew my attention made me look at it but just taking a picture of the flags themselves was like ok you have a picture of flags it's not too exciting so I decide how could I make those flags look more interesting so I searched my surroundings and one of the things that I'm always looking for his reflections and so I found some windows and I tried to move around and see if I can get the flags to reflect into the windows and this is what I was able to get which I think is kind of an interesting looking picture but I'm thinking about that all the time anything is reflective so here I'm in yellowstone national park and this is a small detail of one of the other things that you might normally shoot but when the sun is going down you got this nice light coming through and I sighed will this color is great what can I get in there and just give me some interesting texture and so I took a few different ones just a study of this color in shape doesn't have to be a photo of a thing you know object there's another then when I'm shooting fall color took these just few days ago I'm also thinking about reflections you're used to seeing pictures of all the trees during fall color so I think about how can I present this in a different way but you're not used to necessarily seen now I'm sure I've seen pictures like this before as well but they're not as common so this is just a reflection of a yellow tree that's across the river bank from where I'm standing and it's a reflection in the water and I found just a pile of leaves that were sitting on iraq to give it some something tio so it's not completely abstract so something for your eye to recognize and then look at the abstraction around it but then sometimes I just give the abstraction that is simply a reflection of trees and water in all experiment with my shutter speed and if I go for a long exposure it's going to really become silky and you won't be able to tell it all what it isthe go slower shutter speed you get a little more hints of what it is in just looking for those reflections other things I can do is if I put a polarizer on my lens polarizer will allow me to see through the water better so this is without a polarizer reflection of leaves on the water this is with a polarizer where I rotated the polarizer until the image got his dark is it would go and that means the reflection is largely going away so if I ever had fish in the water and that's the subject of the photo a polarizer would be on my lens it would be rotated until I could see through the water the most all right then if I notice these vertical elements here you see the tree branches or the that what he called the tree trunks in there and they're very vertical lined up I got an idea there and that is what if I have my camera on a tripod and or I could do this handheld too but I have a special head of my tripod that makes it easy for me but what if I do a long exposure and I move the camera up and down if I move the camera up and down aren't the trunks of the tree's going to stay lined up with each other and just create a blurry dark vertical line and then the the color that's behind it is going to become this blur of yellow and orange and all that kind of stuff but the tree trunks they're just kind of not have detail they're going to be dark vertical lines and so here's some other trees I thought about the same thing and here's some of the results I can get so in this particular case what I did is I sent by I s o setting this lows that khun dio I close down the lens to cut how much would be coming in to get a longer exposure and then I let the camera open when it was still and then a millisecond later I started moving it in that way when I held it still you get little hints of all the detail in trees that are sharp but then I started moving it right after that and the rest of it ends up getting kind of blurred so here just some experiments here's the subject matter you see that bright tree trunk in the middle start moving up and down that bright tree trunk stays there is kind of element but everything else starts blurring experiment with various shutter speeds and see what you can get so those are some of the things that I think about one other thing that I think about is the angle of the light source and I would look for things that are not being front lit meaning the sun is not shutting directly onto them if the sun shines directly onto something usually it's somewhat boring if the sun backlight something it's much more interesting to see if I can find back lighting in here right here you see the light catching the back of those leaves much more interesting than front lit backlighting so I look for what is in the scene being backlit or side lit that's much more interesting light than having light hit it directly one final thought was shooting strategies if it's an overcast day usually get really soft light and everything it's sometimes depending on your subject matter it can feel a little boring because everything is so evenly lit well I always have a flashlight in my bag so at your own life that's just a flashlight go try lighting things first remember don't front light it light from the side from above whatever or like the background to get a little contrast or I'll come in here and backlight the leaf to make it look more interesting that's just my flashlight so those air don't some additional shooting strategies for today and I think of all those things when I'm in the field so that I can you know hopefully get interesting looking image a little different than what you would get in a snapshot that people take with their cell phones so questions so I was going to ask you ben as you're shooting motion blur yeah do you ever use shutter priority mode rather than yeah sometimes you shutter priority mode where then I can get a consistent speed whereas if the brightness changes in the scene it would vary it e'en so sometimes I will do that like what I'm shooting birds and I'm going for a certain blur I'll be in shutter priority mode so I can try ten or twelve images at the exact same shutter speed and then change it for another couple shots said yes that is a good time when you'd end up going teo shutter priority yeah you mentioned you have use a flashlight you ever use off camera flash I do occasionally is just not something I do a lot I mean it's a great thing when people do that it's just everybody has their own personal style and for me most the time I use available life and then if I use artificial lighting it's usually like painting and so flashlight it's just what I like doing on dh using speed lights little flashes is something I'd like to get into more but it's just having explored it as much so then we did have one question papa if you have a minute uh this is from an burst still if I'm saying that wrong I'm sorry hae bin see here she says I've really learned a lot from the class yesterday they say I love taking pictures of people against the ocean view and the sunset but the subject always comes out dark compared teo the background which is really bright is it possible to use only natural light for this type of picture they say I know we can use flash or maybe a reflector but what if we don't have either of the when it comes to that you know you're usually going to need some artificial light you're either gonna end up trying to turn the people into a visual shape and silhouette them where you just make him a black shape and they look interesting in the background is really what you're getting the sunset or whatever it is that's going on there or some fill flash is usually gonna help out there or find something bright a white building or something to get to let it reflect the sun off of but if you're at the beach and stuff you're not going to find two money things like that you could also try to do a longer exposure but if it's people they're going to move around so they're not going to be sharp so you usually some fill flash there

Class Description

So you just bought your first DSLR, now what? In this two-day workshop, professional photographer and Photoshop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore will take you inside his award-winning mind. From composition techniques to post-production Photoshop magic, Ben will unpack everything the pros know about taking and editing amazing photos. Ben will reveal his entire thought process when shooting — showing you how simple choices like lens selection can dramatically alter your results. You will also learn what settings you need to capture the right light, how to modify your gear to make it more useful, Photoshop techniques to polish your photos, and how to use apps and software to streamline your workflow. Whether you’re a beginning photographer, or a working photographer interested in a refresher course, this workshop will teach you how to make the most out of your DSLR.


Ashleigh L

AMAZING CLASS! I caught bits and pieces of the live stream, but even in those bits and pieces of it, I learned so much! He's a great teacher, easy to understand and great visuals. He "walks around" the subject to give us different POV, tells us the negative/positive/neutral of the photo, and tips. Thank you, Ben!