Shooting Challenge #26 Intentional Camera Movement -- Win an iPad Air

By Martin Snelling on at

Sometimes I get stuck in a bit of a creative black hole and feel like I'm photographing the same thing over and over again, purely for the sake of taking a photo. Looking through one of my many photography books I glanced upon a photography style called 'Intentional Camera Movement'. The clue is in the title and it really is just that; taking photos with intentional camera shake or motion blur as the camera shoots the picture.

The camera literally became my painter's brush, and the landscape ahead, my canvas. I was shaking it, panning it up, twisting and tilting it this way and that. I spent a good afternoon experimenting with different shutter speeds, shooting locations near home and some post-processing to create a set of six photographs I was happy with.

While they might not seem like photographs in the traditional sense, they are the type of images I would have framed on my walls at home.


The Brief:

This week I'm going a bit arty-farty with the brief and I want you to make a photograph, or set of five photographs that show Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). This is your chance to try something different; to experiment with light and shade, colours, shapes and of course, movement.

If you want some inspiration, head on over to the Intentional Camera Movement Group on Flickr.


The Technique:

Making ICM photographs is relatively straight forward and actually quite easy to achieve, getting it right however, can be rather tricky. Here are my top ten technique tips for getting the best results.

ISO -- Set your camera's ISO to its lowest setting so it is less sensitive to light. For most cameras this is 100.

Shutter speed -- A slower shutter speed will allow you greater camera movement. Aim for something around the 1/20 to ½ second. The example image was 1/15.

Aperture -- To reduce the amount of light hitting the camera sensor, set the camera to its lowest aperture setting. Anything f16 or below is ideal.

Light -- Using a slow shutter speed will increase the amount of light entering the camera so try and photograph in low-light. If you're planning to shoot outside, dusk and dawn are the best times. At this time of year, you'll also get some great sunrises.

High contrast -- Think about what you're photographing and ensure you've a good mix of contrasting areas of light and dark. Too much of one can result in a flat image with no fine detail or visual impact.

Direction -- Experiment with moving the camera horizontally, vertically as well as tilting, twisting or rocking it back and forth. The same scene can look very different when the camera is moved in different ways.

Theme -- It's great to think about themes when making a set of photographs. Seemingly random images with no connecting theme can feel incomplete and may leave the viewer wondering what they represent. Try and tell a story with a set of five photographs. The theme could be a location, a subject matter such as trees or people, or colours.

Filters -- Neutral Density (ND) filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera and so will give you better exposures. If you have them, use them. If not, get yourself a cheap set off Amazon and have fun. You can get round ones that screw on to your lens or rectangular sheets of glass/plastics that slot into a filter holder.

Mobile -- Phones can be great for capturing camera movement; get yours out and experiment.

Zoom -- Using your camera's zoom is not classed as ICM (as you're not moving the camera body) so don't use it.


The Prize:

In keeping with this week's Shooting Challenge theme which plays upon the abstract and unknown, one lucky bugger will win an iPad Air 16GB from Ebuyer, who have a bunch of prizes up for grabs in their 12 days of Christmas giveaway.


The Rules:

- Follow the brief
- Submissions must be your own work.
- Submit one or five images.
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
- Image post-processing is allowed
- Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image/images.
- Please ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameICM.jpg (and for multiple image, use FirstnameLastnameICM1.jpg, FirstnameLastnameICM2.jpg etc)
- Don't forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, December 9th 2013 at 6pm UK time with "Shooting Challenge - ICM" in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location.
- The most important rule -- HAVE FUN!

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based photomatographer and wearer of fine hats. He tweets here, Flickrs here, and does his website stuff here.