Why you Should try Panning

Aug 10, 2021

Photography is full of techniques and rules to learn. Heck, I've written two landscape photography workshops on how you can improve your landscape photography skills simply by learning and following landscape photography rules. I adore rules and the power they have on transforming an image from a snapshot into a work of art!

There's no denying that learning and adhering to photography rules will help you capture visually strong and beautifully aesthetic images. However, I also believe that rules have their time and place in photography and are meant to be broken.

One of the ways a landscape photographer can break traditional landscape photography rules is through creative panning. Breaking traditional photography rules can open any photographer up to a whole new world of freedom in artistic expression. 

When I asked Google dictionary to define, "What is Art?" I received the reply that art is "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination."

Panning not only captures an image filled with creative freedom but the art of panning can usually be captured at any time of day and in many different environmental conditions. So when conditions aren't quite right for a traditional wide-angle static landscape image, panning might be your answer. 

For example, the below image was taken during full sun when highlights shone bright, and shadows were deep and dark. 

ISO 100, 29mm f5, 1/4sec

Panning also allows the photographer to focus on delicate details like textures and colours in a photograph. Simple details can be showcased in a dynamic way, such as light reflecting off water during sunset.  

ISO 100, 200mm, f10, 0.6sec

I know you'll agree that nature offers an endless abundance of beauty. Panning showcases that beauty creatively and artistically through the use of intentional camera movement. So next time you're seeking a little artistic creativity within a landscape setting, choose a slower shutter speed, then slowly or quickly pan your camera horizontally or vertically during the exposure.

The outcome of panning will vary between extreme and subtle and depends on shutter speed and the speed at which the camera is panned during the exposure.

This technique is not only fun to try but addicting! I bet you can't just take one panned exposure!

Breaking free from the many rules that are inherent within landscape photography is refreshing and energizing. So never be afraid to step away from photography rules, and take a walk into the creative and unique world of panning.