Photo Trick: How to Shoot a Hiker on the Move

Walk and shoot to freeze your subject while the scenery rushes past.
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Walk and shoot to freeze your subject while the scenery rushes past.
moving photography

Death Canyon, Grand Teton National Park. Specs f/4.0, 1/30, ISO 100 24mm focal length Photo by: Aidan Klimenko

Pick a good location

You’ll get the best results by trying this technique in an area with bushes, wildflowers, or trees surrounding the trail at waist height or above. These supporting features need to be close to the camera for the motion blur to look good.

Adjust your settings

Use continuous shooting or burst mode to avoid unnecessary camera shake. Also look for continuous autofocus mode (some brands call this “servo autofocus”). This will help the camera stay focused as you move. Best target: The hiker’s pack or body (not arms or legs).

Set your shutter speed

You want the shutter open long enough to expose the sensor to perceptible motion, but short enough that you can lock onto your subject and freeze him or her. Between 1/30 and 1/10 second is a good bet for matching speeds with a hiker.

Walk as you shoot

Hold the camera steady and match your pace to your subject’s. It’s easiest to keep her sharp if you frame her in the center. Use live view mode; this will free your eyes to watch the framing and where you’re walking.

Review and repeat

Take a few sets of photos, then review to see if shutter speed, hiking pace, or composition need adjusting. Even after you’ve learned the technique, it normally takes multiple tries to get a shot with a good balance of blur and sharpness.

Learn More

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