How to Photograph a Moving Object

Photographing a moving object is one of the most difficult aspects of photography. You must choose all the right exposure settings, such as shutter speed, and aperture, and you even need the correct lens. Furthermore, you need to snap your photo before the object moves too far away. This is a true art in itself, and everything must go right in order to get your ideal shot. 

Photographing a moving object is done by adjusting the shutter speed to the subject and conditions. Shutter speed is the amount of light allowed to enter the camera’s lens at any given time. Different shutter speeds are recommended for different subjects and location settings. 

Adjusting your shutter speed is one of the most critical aspects when taking a photograph of a moving object. Let’s check out a few of the most important factors of getting that perfect motion shot.

How to set the Shutter Speed when Photographing a Moving Object

Shutter speed is one of the most critical aspects when photographing a moving object, as it defines the amount of time the lens is exposed to the light, and therefore, how much the object moves while taking a photo. Often, if your camera is equipped with a shutter priority setting, you can see your shutter speed by looking through the rear viewfinder, and then only pressing the shutter halfway. You should be able to look at your camera screen, and see that it is set at some number, such as 1/125th of a second. 

Photographing moving objects can be difficult, as different objects require different camera settings. If you are a beginner, it may be difficult to decide which settings to use. However, as you become more experienced, you will be able to adjust your camera settings on the fly. 

Light is Important to High-Speed Photography

The amount of lighting available in your chosen location is critical to all types of photography, however, it is even more prevalent for moving object photography. It is important to have the sunlight behind you to really get that perfect shot without any shadows.

Photo of a vehicle moving fast

Popular Subjects for Moving Object Photography

Let’s check out a few of the most common types of moving objects captured by your lens.


Water is one of the most common moving targets to photograph and it is one that photographers have been perfecting for decades. Most photographers like to start their shoot with 1/8th of a second shutter speed, and then adjust as necessary. From there they recommend small adjustments, faster or slower, until you are satisfied with your shot. 

One of the main reasons that different subjects and locations require different settings is that light will never be the same in every location. This is why an experienced photographer will learn how to adjust to the conditions. 

Freezing Motion

When photographing a moving object, freezing motion photography is one of the most interesting photographic illusions you can create. Most photographers use a shutter setting similar to 1/200th of a second or faster in order to get the perfect shot. However, many recommend changing to an even quicker setting if the conditions warrant. With shutter speeds this fast, a lot of light is necessary to take a good high-speed photo.

These types of photos would look really cool in 3D, as it would increase the illusion of the subject floating, and give it even more depth. You can create a 3D photo with the click of a button with LucidPix!


If you want a crisp and clear shot of people walking, you should start with a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, especially if they are walking at a normal pace. If you want to blur the people in the photo, you should switch to a much slower exposure, such as 1/30th of a second. 

If people are jogging or running, you need a quicker exposure to capture them clearly, therefore, it is recommended to begin at 1/125th of a second at the slowest. However, it is likely you will have to increase the shutter speed. If you want to blur a fast-moving person, it is recommended to begin with 1/60th of a second, and increase the exposure from there. Although, like photographing any other subject, light and surroundings must always be taken into account. 

Moving Object Photography - People Waling


Because cars move at a relatively high speed, it is recommended to set your exposure at 1/1300 of a second to get a clear and crisp photo showing no blur. However, in order to create the illusion of movement, the exposure should be set differently. 

For example, to shoot a car moving at 30mph, you should set your exposure at 1/125th of a second, and for a car moving at 70mph, at 1/250th of a second. These settings often make the background look as if it is blurred to give the illusion of motion. Be sure to move your camera with the vehicle, to ensure that only the background and wheels are motion blurred.


Panning is one of the most popular ways to give the illusion of movement. Often, the background of the photo is blurred while the main subject remains crisp and clear, giving the illusion of speed.

To achieve this, photographers usually recommend beginning at 1/60th of a second and increasing from there. Although, many photographers are often content with leaving their exposure at 1/60th of a second, as they often get their desired result. 

red car high speed panning

If you want to blur the subject of the photo in addition to the background, it is recommended to set your camera beginning at 1/125 of a second, and then 1/800 of a second for a crisp photo of the main subject. These settings are especially prevalent for pet or wildlife photography, as setting your exposure of 1/800th of a second will give the illusion of their legs moving. 

Pan shots look great in 3D as well, as it adds that extra element of depth to the photo. LucidPix can help turn your pan shot into a 3D masterpiece!

We Hope You Learned About Moving Subject Photography

Taking a photograph of a moving object is an art form in itself, however, with a simple exposure adjustment, even the most novice photographer can take photos like a pro. It is important to adjust your exposure when in different settings or photographing different objects. With the correct exposure and some skill, you will be able to take stunning pictures of moving objects. 

Want to turn your moving object photo into 3D? Check out LucidPix for free and turn your shots into 3D. You can select a variety of filters to further add some uniqueness to your photo. Check out LucidPix on both the Apple App Store and Google Play to download.