Have you ever wondered how you can add a sense of motion to a still photo? Motion blur is your answer.

You can create a sense of movement and bring your images to life using motion blur.

What is Motion Blur in Photography?

Motion blur is the streaking effect recorded when your subject, or your camera, moves during an exposure. Not to be confused with camera shake, motion blur is a photographic technique used to portray a sense of movement or speed.

Camera shake, on the other hand, is the unintentional blurring of an image when a photographer moves the camera while taking a photograph.

How to Capture Motion Blur

Capturing motion blur is a relatively easy technique to master once you have the basics down.

The following steps will help you on your way to motion blur mastery.

Decrease Your Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the most critical factor to consider when capturing motion blur. A shutter is a curtain in front of the camera sensor that opens to let light in when you take a shot. A fast shutter speed will freeze motion, while a slower shutter speed will cause your subject to blur.

Which Shutter Speed Will Blur Motion?

There is no perfect answer to this question. It all depends on the speed of your subject. The slower your subject is moving, the slower your shutter speed will need to be.

Bear in mind that as you decrease your shutter speed, more light will reach your camera’s sensor. This can result in overexposed photos (too much light has reached the sensor). Your picture will look washed out and will lose detail. To compensate for this you will need to adjust either the aperture, ISO, or use filters.

Use a Smaller Aperture

An aperture is the adjustable opening in your lens that lets light into your camera. The wider the opening, the more light reaches your camera’s sensor.

Aperture is measured in f-stops. A high f-stop number (f22) indicates a very narrow opening, whereas a low f-stop number (f2.8) indicates a very wide opening. It seems counter-intuitive, but you’ll get used to it.

So, if your image is overexposed (too much light) as a result of using slower shutter speed to achieve motion blur, you can reduce exposure by increasing your f-stop number.

Use the Shutter Priority Mode

If you’re not comfortable shooting in manual mode and making the adjustments yourself, use shutter priority mode.

The advantage of using shutter priority mode for taking motion blur photos is that you control the shutter speed (the most important setting when it comes to motion blur). Your camera will select the rest, giving you a perfect exposure and more freedom to focus on getting the perfect shot.