Intentional Camera Movement creates stunning pictures.

14 tips to create great Intentional Camera Movement pictures.

Intentional Camera Movement Example

One Stunning Example of Intentional Camera Movement

Like any other field in photography you need to learn and master Intentional Camera Movement or ICM.  Initially pictures could be disappointing. In some occasion though it create something just short of amazing.

Back in 2012, I would have frowned at somebody promoting moving the camera while taking a picture outside of a panning shot.  Moving the camera while the shutter is open? Why would I do such a stupid thing. Sometime though, I make mistakes.  I change my setting to try something new.  I forget about it.  Then, next picture is bad.  At least it is not what I intended to do.

This is the story of this picture.

Intentional Camera Movement in action

After the rain, while in Granada, Nicaragua. I decided to improve my panning technique.  I set the shutter speed to 0.6 second letting the camera define the proper aperture.   I was looking back at the viewfinder after each shot.  Trying my best to create something interesting. I was just losing my time.  Nothing was working for me. I gave up and walked back toward the flea market.

A one horse carriage was coming my way across the corner of the street.  The camera jumped to my eye and I pushed the shutter in order to take multiple pictures.  I heard a single click and realized my mistake.  I drop the camera to my waist to change setting and then I heard the second click of the shutter closing. This was way too slow for a carriage rapidly approaching.  I understood my mistake.  I did not look at it then, rapidly changing my setting to start anew.

I saw the picture only after coming back to the hotel. This is my first Intentional Camera Movement picture even though it was not really intentional.  It is hanging proudly on my wall.  I explore ICM since then.

Here are 14 tips to get the most out of Intentional Camera Movement:

  • Chose one movement and try to learn from it by studying the results after each shot. It takes time to understand how the image is recorded;
  • Try a shutter speed from 0,25 to 2 seconds. The longer the focal length the faster the shutter speed;
  • Horizontal movement work well with horizontal lines: Horizon, Water, Beach, etc…
  • Vertical is best with vertical subjects like trees, weeds, fence, etc…
  • You can pan the camera or pivot it on its sensor plane axis to create different effect;
  • Rotating the camera on the lens axis is also an option to create interesting images;
  • Following a subject that is moving slowly will create interesting images. g. peoples walking or roller-skating;
  • Experiment with high contrast scene and subdued one. You’ll be stunned with the results;
  • Fall colors, early morning and late afternoon work very well usually;
  • Experiment with regular linear movement and irregular one.

“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.” According to Henri Cartier-Bresson

When I find an interesting subject, I start taking pictures as usual.  When my exploration of the subject is over, I try some ICM at it.  When walking in the forest and following a pathway I like to stop to try a few ICM pictures.  I also combine, at time, defocusing and ICM to create pictures that are devoid of edge contrast.  Read more on it on Intentional Camera Defocusing.

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Did you tried ICM in the past?  Will you experiment with it?  Please use the comment section to link back to your story on ICM and let other readers learn from your own experience with Intentional Camera Movement.