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How to Add Motion Blur to a Photo: 9 Tips & Tricks

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surreal motion blur photography woman shaking head

Adding motion blur to a photo can be a great way to add depth and dimension. It can also be used to create a sense of movement or action. Here are nine tips and tricks for adding motion blur to your photos:

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The 9 Tips to Add Motion Blur to a Photo

1. Use a Slow Shutter Speed

This is the most important tip for creating motion blur in your photos. The slower the shutter speed, the more blurred the image will be. To get started, try setting your shutter speed to 1/60th of a second or lower.

motion blur cityscape with highways
Image Credit: Joey Kyber, Unsplash

2. Use a Tripod or Other Stabilizing Device

The stability of your camera is crucial when using a slow shutter speed. Any movement will result in a blur, so it’s important to use a tripod or other stabilizing device to keep your camera still.

If you’re handholding your camera, it’s important to use a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake. But if you’re using a tripod or other stabilizing device, you can safely use a slow shutter speed.

3. Use Continuous Shooting Mode

This mode allows you to take multiple photos in quick succession. By taking several photos in a row, you increase your chances of capturing the perfect moment with motion blur.

Your photos will be more blurry if your subject is moving faster. To capture these types of photos, use a higher shutter speed. A good rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed equal to or faster than your lens’s focal length. For example, if you are using a 50mm lens, use a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second or faster.

motion blur photography at an amusement park
Image credit: Andre Ouellet, Unsplash

4. Use a High Shutter Speed

As discussed above, when trying to capture motion blur, it’s important to use a high shutter speed. A high shutter speed will help freeze the action and prevent blur. You can experiment with different shutter speeds to see what works best for the type of photo you are trying to take.

5. Use a Low ISO Setting

One of the best things you can do to reduce motion blur is to use a low ISO setting. A low ISO will help keep your photos sharp and free from blur.

ISO camera setting
Image Credit: ShareGrid, Unsplash

6. Use Burst Mode

Burst mode allows you to take multiple photos in quick succession. This is helpful when trying to capture fast-moving subjects, as it increases your chances of capturing the perfect moment with motion blur.

7. Try Panning

Panning is a technique where you follow a moving subject with your camera while keeping the shutter open. This will result in a photo with your subject in focus and the background blurred.

panning photography
Image Credit: faysalkhan101, Pixabay

8. Use Motion Blur Effect in Photoshop

If you’re editing a photo in Photoshop, you can add motion blur using the Motion Blur filter. This filter can be found under the Filter > Blur > Motion Blur menu.

9. Experiment and Have Fun!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. And most importantly, have fun! Capturing motion blur can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding

moving train photographed with motion blur
Image Credit: 652234, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

By employing the tips and tricks outlined above, you can dramatically improve the appearance of your photos by adding motion blur. This effect can help add a sense of drama or excitement and can really make your images pop. So get out there and start experimenting!

Featured Image Credit: Cassidy Dickens, Unsplash

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.