Capturing better motion in portraits

The winters in Montana are long and arduous. Working with static pictures in a studio environment for over six grueling months. Nothing is more alluring than going outdoors and playing with motion when Spring finally arrives. It appears that no matter how comfortable I am with the technique, I always need a little review at the start of the season. It simply takes a few frames for things to start working again and feeling natural. The following are some of my favorite suggestions for taking motion photographs.

Summary of Contents

My Top Shooting Settings
Move your subject, then freeze it
Last Thoughts: Drag Your Shutter And Move
My preferred shooting techniques

At The Phoblographer, I’ve had the good fortune to shoot with several camera manufacturers. I’ve discovered that I like the shooting modes of certain systems over others as a result. Single shooting with tracking remains my top preference. Significantly fewer misses occur when eye detection is enabled. At a recent wedding, it was the only choice I was interested in, and it perfectly caught the moment.

When shooting stunning fashion items, I like to use Sony’s AF-A and intelligent focusing on a Leica SL2-S. The specific mode depends on the camera’s brand. It performs a good job of selecting to isolate the topic and allowing the rest of the image’s components to fade into the background. When you’re holding out for just the right time to hit the shutter, choosing a single focus point is effective.

I’m always amazed by the capability of today’s mirrorless cameras. Don’t worry if you aren’t using a mirrorless camera; DSLRs can still capture motion beautifully.


For photographs that are more focused on fashion, instruct your model or subject to engage with their outfit. They are able to spin, fluff a skirt, flare a jacket, and fling a scarf. You may choose continuous focus with tracking when appropriate during weddings. It’s great for spotting erratic movements and changes in course. I enjoy it for its fast capture of the unfiltered, private moments as well. It’s an excellent photojournalistic strategy.


There are situations when freezing motion is necessary. Last summer, I was in Montauk for a fashion shoot, and the wind was perfectly dramatizing the fabric and the hair of my model. I switched to continuous shooting and selected a quick shutter speed. I then instructed her to run and twirl around the beach. Was it feasible to use the single shot mode to get an acceptable image? Absolutely. Although, the flawless grins and fleeting movements that provide depth were filmed in continuous mode.

Little kids might be captured in family pictures by freezing motion. It is a great choice for capturing the feelings and moments while photographing a wedding, as well.

The more I photograph, the more I come to appreciate the unpredictable nature and delicate focus of motion. It’s an unavoidable result of years of striving for perfection that will never be attained. Perfection has gotten boring to me. Imperfections can be very beautiful. Additionally, it gives fashion photography and other motion photos a beautiful dynamic.
One of my favorite things to do is to get my model to spin while wearing a stunning garment. In various focusing settings, I like slightly and significantly dragging the shutter. When I’m developing a mood with the model, I choose intelligent autofocus and slightly slow down the shutter speed.

When I want to emphasize the movement further, I will choose manual focus and significantly drag the shutter. In addition, I gently shift the camera in the other direction from where I have my model move. It prevents background noise from becoming annoying. The topic is still at the forefront. When you want a softer, more ethereal moment, it might sometimes be better to be somewhat out of focus. Second curtain sync is my preferred option while I’m in the studio. For me, it produces greater outcomes.


Whether it’s flowing or a moment frozen in time, adding motion to pictures gives them a lot of personality and vitality. It’s a wonderful enhancement to enrich family, fashion, and wedding portraits.

The wonderful capabilities of modern cameras make it easier to capture motion. Selecting your focus point, general mood, and dialing in are all that are required. With some experience, developing a rhythm and style gets simpler.

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