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How to Take a Motion Photo! | A few tips and tricks

After having done a few of them, I have been able to collate a few tips and tricks which will help you improve the quality of your motion photographs.

4w ago

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Overview

An automotive rolling shot is a photo taken of a car whilst it is in motion. The aim is to create motion blur around the subject, whilst the subject itself is largely in focus. They can be quite difficult to capture, but look superb when you do.

Disclaimer: Technically, this can be seen as illegal, and I don't condone hanging your entire body out of a car or sitting in the boot of a car. Briefly holding your camera out of a car, keeping your seatbelt on and body in the car is the extent of what you should be doing.

Distance from the Subject

Instagram Photographer @photog_media Subject @perthvibe

Instagram Photographer @photog_media Subject @perthvibe

Depending on the focal length of your lens, I reccomend a three lane road, once you're comfortable with rollers. A lane between the subject and the tracking car allows you to include more of the background. Depending on the background you may want a faster road with more motion blur if its less of an interesting background.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice is absolutely essential for rolling photos. Keeping the camera stable is an essential skill. Practice first on a small two lane road at like 30kph to practice keeping the camera stable. The faster the road that you are on, the more motion blur that you will be able to capture.

Time of Day

Instagram Photographer @photog_media_ Subject @bba_porsche

Instagram Photographer @photog_media_ Subject @bba_porsche

As with all other photos, the best time for rolling photos is golden hour. This mitigates the amount of harsh lighting placed upon the subject. Golden hour is the approximate 30 minutes before and after sunrise and sunset. Another advantage of this is that there is often less traffic during this period, making your photos safer and less cluttered

Overcast days also provide decent opportunities as they act as graduated filters minimising the amount of direct light upon the subject.

Equipment

Instagram @photog_media_

Instagram @photog_media_

There are three main elements of equipment that are highly reccomended for rollers.

CPL Filter - CPL or Polarising filters cut reflections out from photos through reducing the amount of light entering the camera from a certain angle. They improve clarity of the subject, and remove unwanted distractions. Below is an example of with and without a CPL filter being used.

Camera Wrist Strap - In order to secure your camera rig if you don't have a professional rig setup, I reccomend using a Wrist Strap. This secures your camera tightly to your wrist when you hang it out of the window and makes it less loose compared to a sling or neck strap. You can also rest your camera against the tracking cars window sill to minimise further vibrations

Lens Choice - The lower the focal length of the lens used, the more of the car you can get in shot, and the closer you can get to the subject. A zoom lens is also very handy as the distance between the tracking car and subject does not remain constant. Ive found that my 18-55mm kit lens has served the purspose well. If it has image stabilisation that is an added bonus

What's the best rolling photo you've ever taken? Share it down below!

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