How to Use Shutter Speed and Creative Camera Motion for Artistic Effect

Motion blur can be used to create compelling action shots, but have you tried using it to bring movement to stationary scenes? In the following video, Bryan Peterson demonstrates three techniques for introducing movement into your photographs for beautiful abstract results:

After finding a colorful sculpture, Peterson takes a shot with his Nikon D800E. He’s using a 24-85mm lens here.

creative camera motion normal shot

f/16 @ 1/125

Introducing Vertical Motion Blur

To introduce motion into the next shot, Peterson stops down to f/22, which gives him a shutter speed of 1/6 of a second. He also sets his camera at the lowest ISO setting. While shooting the same tree from the previous picture, Peterson simply moves the camera up while the shutter is open:

creative motion blur

Physically moving the camera in a vertical direction creates even motion blur that works well with the vertically oriented background.

Zooming Around

In the next technique, Peterson simply frames the shot, and zooms in with his lens while the shutter is open.

lens twisting motion blur

This creates an interesting swirl as the lens moves.

Twisting the Camera

Peterson created a swirl by moving the lens in the previous shot, and for the third technique, he creates a circular motion blur by twisting the camera body back and forth in front of the subject.


You’ll have to move quickly for most of these techniques, so be sure to hold on to your camera!

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