Motion Blur Photography – How To Add Motion Blur In Photos & Photoshop
Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.
Motion Blur Photography
How To Add Motion Blur In Photos and Photoshop
In this tutorial we’ll take a look at motion blur and how to add that cool blurry movement effect to your photos both in camera and in photoshop. As cool as it looks, adding it to your photos is actually pretty darn simple. By the end of this photography tutorial, you’ll have one more creative photography technique in your tool belt, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your photography.
What is motion blur?
Motion blur is the blurred appearance of moving objects in photography or video caused by a combination of movement and slow shutter speed. The longer the exposure and the faster the movement, the more motion blur will occur.
How To Add Motion Blur To A Photo
Adding motion blur to a photo is easy, and can produce amazing effects. Adding motion blur to your photos requires 2 things:
- Some kind of motion to capture (Obviously)
- Manual control of your shutter speed – This effect requires a slow shutter speed. The longer you set the exposure, the more motion blur you’ll add.
Add Motion Blurring To A Photo: Step 1
Add Motion Blurring To A Photo: Step 2
How To Add Motion Blur In Photoshop
This motion blur photoshop tutorial by Aaron @ Phlearn covers how to add motion blur to backgrounds in photoshop.
Creative Motion Blur Photography Techniques:
Motion blur can be used in photography to create some amazing effects. The most common ways to use motion blur are light trails in night time photography, blurring waterfalls or moving water in landscape photos, and adding motion blur to the background of car photos to exaggerate the sense of movement and speed.
Below I’ve put together some different creative examples of motion blur, as well as my rough estimate of the camera settings being used:
Movement Blur Of A Dancer:
Motion Blur Of A Dancer:
This photo of a dancer in flight is a classic use of motion blur to exaggerate movement.
Motion blur camera settings estimate: 85mm lens at around f2.8, with a VERY slow shutter speed to get this much blur. Probably around 1 to 2 seconds.
With this shot I’m guessing the photographer is using a second curtain flash… Which sounds complicated but basically means instead of the flash firing at the beginning of the exposure, it fires at the end. You set this in your cameras settings (Not all cameras allow it) The effect of this allows for motion blur behind the subject while freezing the subject in focus at the end of the movement. Without it, the dancers face would not be so sharp and in focus.
Motion blurring timelapse effect:
I love the timelapse effect of this motion blur photo. The effect was achieved by having the subject remain still while the other guests in the photo moved behind him. It is important they move BEHIND and not in front or else they would cover him in their blur.
Motion blur camera settings estimate: 35mm lens at f8 or higher (Notice how there is very little depth of field) with shutter seed around 1-2 seconds. I’m assuming the high F stop was chosen in order to darken things down enough to use such a slow shutter speed.
Motion blur waterfall landscape photography
Adding motion blur to nature and landscape photos is a quick and easy way to add a dreamy quality to your images… And can be pretty fun to experiment with!
Motion blur camera settings estimate: 16mm lens at f2.8, with a shutter speed around 2-3 seconds. The longer the exposure, the more creamy and dreamy the waterfall will become. It’s also important to note that the BACKGROUND is in focus in this photo, not the foreground. This adds to the blurry dreamy effect of the waterfall.
Motion Blur Light Trails
This shot by Lerone Pieters is one of my all time fav examples of light trails created by motion blur. Most light trails happen at night – I LOVE that this shot takes place around dusk, which makes the photo so much more interesting.
Motion blur camera settings estimate:
My guess is that a lot of the blur was added in photoshop, and that this photo is a composite of several exposures on a tripod. To recreate this photo, I would guess you’d need a 16mm at f4. Take one photo at a higher shutter speed to get everything well exposued as well as crispy and in focus, and then take another photo to capture the motion blur – Probably around 5-7 seconds or higher to get this much blur with slow moving city traffic. Then combine them in Photoshop and enhance the effect as you need to.
Motion blur perspective photo
This is another very creative use of motion blur by Sebastian Handley. Instead of capturing a moving subject, it looks like he captured this photo while moving AWAY from the city – My guess would be on an electric skateboard or sitting on the back of a car.
Motion blur camera settings estimate: 24mm lens around f4-f8, with a VERY long exposure time… Probably 10 seconds or higher. Take your photo as you are moving away from the background, and continue to move in a straight line backwards until the end of the exposure.
That’s pretty much all there is to using motion blur in photography.
It looks amazing, but it’s actually pretty simple!
Now you know how to create motion blur photos and add motion blur to your photography in camera and in photoshop. Time to go out and practice it for yourself!
Have a question? Leave it in the comments below. Have a photo you’d like to share? Tag us @signatureeditsco so we can check it out.
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