Motion Is Your Friend

Photo by Tucson photographer Martha Lochert.

This post is for the photo hobbyists I teach. Don’t be afraid to use motion to your advantage.

Yes, we want to capture clear and stunning photos, but sometimes showing motion is the very thing that adds interest to a photo and makes it transcend a sterile documentation of an object.

I could have photographed this roulette wheel with an on-camera flash and a normal or fast shutter speed and documented it, but that’s all it would be – a nice clear picture of a roulette table. The numbers on the wheel would all be visible and static; the marble would hover on the edge, appearing to be stationary.

Instead, I opted to try and capture the excitement of the game by using a higher ISO (800) which allowed me to use ambient light instead of an on-camera flash. I also used a fairly wide aperture (f4.5) to keep most of the table out of focus and a slow speed (1/8th of a second) so that the wheel would move during the exposure.

Had I more time, I would have worked on perfecting this shot by using a tripod instead of hand-holding, but I did this during a party I was hired to photograph and didn’t have more time to spend on it. Even as is, I think it tells a much better story than snapping a crisp, yet boring image. It’s more dynamic now, since it captures the action of the game.

So allow motion to be recorded in your photographs when it makes sense. After all, photography captures the passing of time within a two-dimensional plane.

Image copyrighted. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.

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