4 Easy Methods to Create Motion Blur

When we look at the photography of Sarah Moon or Paolo Roversi, we find ourselves taken into an ethereal world of dream-like fantasy. Their images are soft-focused, often times blurry, the color palettes are muted and merged into one another. The out of focus quality of their photographs doesn’t detract from the image quality but actually enhances the dreaminess and other-worldliness of the image. Both Roversi and Moon break the rules in their photography by not paying attention to keeping their images completely in focus, seeing every detail in the image.

I think we’re taught from an early age when we start taking photographs that every image must be sharp. Then there will be that moment where you accidentally take a photograph that’s slightly blurry and you fall in love with the look and feel of it. Blurry, out of focus photographs are romantic and mysterious in nature. They aren’t like photographs anymore. They become paintings. We use our camera to manipulate the input of light and speed and we break the rules to create images that don’t have that tack-sharp, overly processed, tight and focused look. Abstract images can move a viewer to think beyond what is blatantly there. It allows the viewer to interpret his own idea, from somewhere inside his own fantasies. This is when photography can indeed be called art.

Here are some ways that I use to achieve out of focus images and some examples from my own work where I applied each technique:










1. Take your lens off auto-focus and manually shoot an out of focus image.



2. Drag the shutter by setting your shutter speed longer than 1/30th of a second and move your camera while you’re shooting. I even will lightly shake my camera while shooting at a slow shutter speed in order to create a different type of blur. Moving my camera back and forth I can create a sweeping blur effect. But shaking my camera can create a harder edge on the blur, something more abrupt and powerful.










3. Shoot at a slow shutter speed and have the model move.









4. For garment blur, again, shoot at a slow shutter speed and point a wind machine or fan on the clothes. This obviously works better when you have clothes that are made from fabrics that can move freely when wind hits the fabric.

Melissa Rodwell