How to Convey Motion in a Photograph

As we were brainstorming for her branding photo shoot, Wendy of Middle of Six asked if we could get a few photos that conveyed a busy, bustling office. Catching motion in a photograph is something I don’t get to do very often and so I was excited about the prospect of this creatively. We had a lot of fun creating these photographs and I was so pleased with the results that I wanted to share them with you and teach you how YOU can create branding photographs that convey motion too!


Here are a few of the photographs I captured for Middle of Six:

SS 1/20 f/4.0 ISO 100

SS 1/20 f/4.0 ISO 100

SS 1/40 f/2.8 ISO 100

SS 1/40 f/2.8 ISO 100

SS 1/30 f/2.8 ISO 320

SS 1/30 f/2.8 ISO 320

SS 1/50 f/2.8 ISO 800

SS 1/50 f/2.8 ISO 800


First of all, in order to capture photos with this kind of motion, but while still getting a clear shot with something in focus, you will need a tripod to keep your camera still during a longer exposure.

Then you’ll need to set your camera on manual or shutter priority mode. Set your shutter speed first before adjusting the rest of your settings (aperture and ISO) accordingly. You will probably have to play around with which shutter speed will work best for your particular shot but a good starting place is 1/30th of a second (for normal human action). I’ve included my settings for the photos above in the caption for your reference.

To create a shot where it doesn’t just look like a blurry photo, you’ll want to have a constant, whether that is a person or a prominent subject (piece of furniture or decor, etc), that isn’t moving and will be clear in the shot. Then you’ll want to have someone moving. I find that having someone quickly walk back and forth across your frame works really well for this. Keep in mind that someone walking towards the camera will not create the same kind of motion blur as someone walking across the frame horizontally.

In the end, a lot of it is trial and error and you and your models may end with fits of laughter as they run back and forth across their office while you click away… but just, look at the fun shots you can create with this technique!

Have you tried to capture motion before? What settings worked well for you?

Further questions? Leave me a comment below!