There are times that all that blur in one photo can be distracting, and it can even destroy the entire photograph; however, there are times when this can be used artistically especially when it comes to portrait photography. Blurring the motion is one of the most exciting visual effects that photographers have at their disposal. It creates a magic that combines the soft and sharp details in a single photo that never fails to impress.
How to Make Use of Motion Blur for Portrait Photography
Motion blur is not usually associated with portrait photography, but when done right, a bit of blurring with regards to the movement can enable great effects. When you look at pictures around the Internet about photographers taking advantage of such a technique, you may be astounded and wonder, “How did they do that?” You might think that the process is very complicated and it may require the necessary gear (aside from your camera) to do the job. However, it’s all actually quite simple.
To start with your portrait photography project, your subject needs to stay perfectly still while all other objects around them are in motion. You would then have to use a slightly longer shutter speed than normal. Therefore, a tripod or a flat and stable surface is highly recommended when taking this shot. When you hit the shutter button, and once the image is done processing, you will get the desired results that you want.
For example, you might be photographing a model standing in the middle of a busy street full of people and cars. Just ask your model to stay perfectly still for, say about 5-seconds (depending on your settings). When the photo comes out, and if your model and the surroundings cooperate, the other people and the vehicles in the scene will all be blurred except for your model.
It is, however, recommended that you don’t make your shutter speed too low as one slight move from your model will cause them to be blurred in the picture as well. As humans, we can’t actually stay still for extended periods of time, even if we want to. If you’re shooting still life amid a blurry background, then it’s okay to go for really low shutter speeds. However, this is not the case when taking shots of people with motion blur in mind.
There are other ways to create such an effect for portrait photography such as using external flashes. However, that’s for another time and that process is more complicated and a lot more difficult to master than just using a tripod and a camera.
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