What is Motion Blur and How to Use It in Your Photography

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published November 8, 2022

cambridge city hall

Motion blur is an interesting effect that can be used in photography to create a sense of motion. It can be used to convey a feeling of speed or to show the motion of objects in a photograph.

In this blog post, we will discuss what motion blur is and how you can use it to improve your photographs!

What is Motion Blur?

Motion blur is simply the blurring of an object in a photograph due to it moving while the shutter is open. When photographing something that is moving, like a car or a person running, the motion of the object will create a motion blur effect in the photograph. Use this tip to make your subjects look like they’re in motion, or going faster than they really are.

Related: Photography Techniques: The Comprehensive List I Couldn’t Find, So I Made It

How Do You Create Motion Blur?

There are a few different ways that you can create motion blur in your photographs. One way is to simply use a slower shutter speed.

When you use a slower shutter speed, the sensor in your camera is exposed to light for a longer period of time, which will cause any moving objects in the frame to appear blurred. Another way to create motion blur is by panning your camera along with a moving object. This will cause the background to appear blurry and motionless, while the subject remains in focus.

When Should You Use Motion Blur?

Motion blur can be used in a variety of different ways to improve your photographs. One way to use motion blur is to convey a sense of motion or speed in your photograph. This can be accomplished by photographing a moving object with a slow shutter speed, or by panning your camera along with the subject.

Another way to use motion blur is to create dynamic effects. You can create a motion blur effect by photographing a still subject with a slow shutter speed, or by using a zoom lens.

What if You Want to Avoid Motion Blur?

If you want to avoid motion blur in your photographs, there are a few things that you can do.

One way to avoid motion blur is to use a faster shutter speed. This will shorten the amount of time that the sensor is exposed to light, which will prevent any moving objects from appearing blurred in the photograph.

Another way to avoid motion blur is to use a tripod. This will stabilize your camera and prevent any motion blur from happening. But, keep in mind moving objects will still blur with a slower shutter speed.

Finally, you can also try using continuous release mode on your camera. This will take multiple photographs in quick succession, which will help your chances of getting a sharper image.

The best way to avoid motion blur will always be to use a faster shutter speed. The correct shutter speed to stop camera motion should be the inverse of the focal length of the lens you are using (ie 300mm lens 1/300 shutter speed).

With moving objects it will depend on how fast they are moving. A 1/500th shutter speed will freeze most motion, but faster-moving objects might need a faster speed.

Conclusion

Creative motion blur is an interesting effect that can be used to improve your photographs. It can be used to convey a sense of motion or speed or to create an interesting effect.

Remember, you can use motion blur to your advantage by using a slower shutter speed or by panning your camera along with a moving subject. If you want to avoid motion blur, try using a faster shutter speed or burst mode on your camera.

Have you ever used motion blur in your photography? Let us know in the comments below!

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