They usu­al­ly fight with blur­ry pic­tures, con­sid­er­ing them to be a mar­riage and get­ting rid of them with all their might. How­ev­er, blur­ry or blur­ry pic­tures can be tak­en delib­er­ate­ly to add addi­tion­al mean­ing to the pho­to or to cre­ate an aes­thet­ic pic­ture that goes beyond mere tech­ni­cal pho­tographs. Read about how to smear pho­tos so that it fas­ci­nates and you want to admire it, read in our mate­r­i­al.

If you turn on the bore, the pic­ture is not tech­ni­cal. But it is def­i­nite­ly inter­est­ing to look at / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Blur­ry shots can be beau­ti­ful. Today, many pho­tog­ra­phers grav­i­tate towards what could be called new impres­sion­ism — they shoot not tech­ni­cal pic­tures about “how it was”, but rather pic­tures about “how I feel and see it”. If you approach pho­tog­ra­phy from this point of view, blur­ry, blur­ry, and gen­er­al­ly a black square may well fall into the sec­tion of good pho­tos.

Next, let’s talk about spe­cif­ic tech­niques that allow you to take not just blur­ry pho­tos, but blur­ry pho­tos that some­one will admire.

Defo­cused pic­ture and focus on the back­ground
Lubri­ca­tion for the trans­fer of swift­ness of move­ment
Motion blur + flash
Soft effect

One of the sim­plest tech­niques in terms of tech­nique when shoot­ing with a rel­a­tive­ly fast lens. We are used to the fact that if we shoot, for exam­ple, a per­son against the back­ground of the sea, the sharp­ness should be on the per­son. The essence of the recep­tion is just to ignore this rule.

Such pic­tures indi­cate that the main char­ac­ter is a land­scape, not a per­son / Pho­to: unsplash.com

The main thing when cre­at­ing such pic­tures is to make the dif­fer­ence between an out-of-focus object and a clear back­ground strong. So that the view­er does not have ques­tions about whether this is a mis­take. If the object falls out of focus just a lit­tle bit, there will inevitably be a feel­ing of mar­riage. You can enhance such pic­tures with the help of com­po­si­tion: not only make the fig­ure of a per­son blur­ry, but also make it small rel­a­tive to the back­ground or move it to the edge of the frame.

Here, the pic­ture makes good not only the com­po­si­tion, but also the line of sight of a per­son, aimed at the ruins of a build­ing in the dis­tance / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Inter­est­ing pic­tures can be obtained at night by shoot­ing the city lights and leav­ing the focus in front of them. For exam­ple, these are:

Almost abstract can­vas­es are obtained: noth­ing con­crete, but the mood is there. A har­mo­nious col­or com­ple­ments the frame / Pho­to: unsplash.com

To get such a shot, turn on the man­u­al focus mode and rotate it until the pic­ture becomes inter­est­ing. The trick with this tech­nique is that the lack of focus turns the lights into large spots.

Focus shot behind the back of a mod­el hold­ing an umbrel­la wrapped in gar­lands with very small lights / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

When some­thing moves quick­ly, our eye does not always have time to catch and exam­ine the object, and it seems to us blur­ry. This effect is quite easy to sim­u­late in a pho­to­graph using a slow shut­ter speed.

The pic­ture shows that the train quick­ly rush­es past the mod­el / Pho­to: unsplash.com

To cre­ate such pic­tures, you will need long expo­sures: 1/4, 1/2 and longer — in a few sec­onds. For such shoot­ings, you will def­i­nite­ly need a tri­pod: so that only what should be smeared is smeared, and what should not remain sharp. Expo­sures of this length are almost impos­si­ble to hold by hand.

You can use this tech­nique in dif­fer­ent ways. A shot with clear archi­tec­ture and smeared fig­ures of peo­ple well con­veys the bus­tle of the sta­tion / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Motion blur can be used to cap­ture trains, cars, amuse­ment parks. All this will be beau­ti­ful­ly smeared. There is a clas­sic plot for shoot­ing lovers: we choose a busy street, ask the cou­ple to stand as still as pos­si­ble and shoot for a shut­ter speed of 1–2 sec­onds.

Peo­ple around turn into blur­ry shad­ows of a bustling world that sur­round touch­ing­ly iso­lat­ed from this bus­tle of lovers / Pho­to: slrlounge.com

Often this tech­nique is used for shoot­ing land­scapes with streams, rivers and water­falls. The water is washed out at a slow shut­ter speed, cre­at­ing an inter­est­ing effect. True, with such shoot­ing there are pit­falls — you can eas­i­ly over­ex­pose the pic­ture. Close your aper­ture and use ND fil­ters to avoid this.

Land­scape with a water­fall. Beau­ti­ful / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Anoth­er use for long expo­sures is shoot­ing stars. In order to get a beau­ti­ful pic­ture with star tracks, very long shut­ter speeds are need­ed.

Read also:

Astropho­to: how to shoot star tracks, the Milky Way, the Moon and the night land­scape

Tracks of this length appear at shut­ter speeds of 20 min­utes / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

The biggest chal­lenge when shoot­ing stars is to make a full cir­cle. Here the prob­lem aris­es with the fact that at slow shut­ter speeds the gen­er­al scene of the land­scape begins to light up. For exam­ple, in the pic­ture above, the ships would def­i­nite­ly have been knocked out and the north­ern lights would not have been worked out so well. As a rule, sev­er­al pic­tures are tak­en with an expo­sure of 10–20 min­utes and then com­bined in Pho­to­shop or StarStaX.

Olym­pus has a cheat mode — Live Com­pos­ite, which allows you to take such shots in one frame. It is, for exam­ple, in the Olym­pus OM‑D Mark III. The bot­tom line is that when shoot­ing in Live Com­pos­ite, the cam­era fix­es the ini­tial expo­sure of the image, and then only adds addi­tion­al lumi­nous objects in those places where they were not on the source.

If you are not a hap­py own­er of an Olym­pus, an ND fil­ter can fix the over­ex­po­sure sit­u­a­tion.

You can get inter­est­ing effects from blur­ring not only by shoot­ing mov­ing objects, but also by wav­ing the cam­era itself at a rel­a­tive­ly slow shut­ter speed. Thus, you can get these sur­re­al pic­tures:

If you call this frame “Sum­mer has flown by”, it makes sense / Pho­to: unsplash.com

Also, a spe­cial case of this approach can be called shoot­ing with wiring. To get such shots, you need to shoot at a slow shut­ter speed, fol­low­ing a mov­ing object. To do this, you need to lead the lens behind the ath­lete or car at the same speed as he moves.

Shoot­ing with wiring / Pho­to: unsplash.com

An even more inter­est­ing effect can be achieved by com­bin­ing shoot­ing at a slow shut­ter speed with shoot­ing with a flash. The essence of this tech­nique is that you shoot a frame at a slow shut­ter speed (1–2 sec­onds, for exam­ple), objects are slight­ly smeared dur­ing this time. Then a flash flies from above, fix­ing and “freez­ing” in the last phase of his move­ment. Here are the pic­tures that come out:

It seems like com­plete sur­re­al­ism in the back­ground, but at the same time, the fig­ures of the dancers are read and look sharp / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Photosklad.Expert

Anoth­er nice bonus is that you can work here with­out a tri­pod. The motion blur of the hands in this case will enhance the sur­re­al­ism, and the flash will still draw clear con­tours of what it hits.

The soft focus effect is anoth­er pop­u­lar tech­nique, close to what we talked about ear­li­er. Soft focus is not a blur or an error in focus. This is a phe­nom­e­non that was com­mon with old­er film lens­es. Soft effect is uncor­rect­ed spher­i­cal aber­ra­tions. They result from the fact that the rays of light pass­ing through the cen­ter of the lens and through the edges of the lens are focused in dif­fer­ent places due to the shape of the lens.

The advent of mod­ern sharp glass­es made some pho­tog­ra­phers feel nos­tal­gic, bored and want to return to soft focus.

Soft focus looks like a light fog in the pho­to, which soft­ens the light pat­tern, mak­ing the whole pic­ture more calm. For this, the soft focus effect is loved by por­traitists, espe­cial­ly when it comes to a female por­trait.

Soft focus por­trait /schonmagazine.com

There are sev­er­al basic ways to cre­ate a soft focus with­out addi­tion­al equip­ment.

- use lens­es with a soft focus effect (for exam­ple, the rare Canon EF 135 mm f / 2.8 Soft focus or Pen­tax SMC FA Soft f / 2.8) or mon­o­cles (lens­es with only one lens, they are often con­vert­ed from Sovi­et “Helios” );

– use spe­cial soft fil­ters;

- take an ordi­nary pro­tec­tive fil­ter, smear it with petro­le­um jel­ly or oth­er greasy cream and remove it;

- pull tights on the lens (proven “grand­fa­ther” method).

Warm lamp soft focus when shoot­ing on film with a mon­o­cle / Pho­to: Alisa Smirno­va, Fotosklad.Expert

So, to reit­er­ate, blur­ry shots can be beau­ti­ful. The main thing is to be hon­est with your­self and remem­ber that just a blur­ry pho­to is not art. It’s just a blur­ry pho­to. And if you are always blur­ring the focus and do not know how to choose the right shut­ter speed, this is not the style. This is a growth area.

By the way, we wrote about how to deal with blurs and under­fo­cus­es of var­i­ous types here.

Beau­ti­ful blur­ry pho­tos can be obtained by acci­dent, but a sep­a­rate kind of skill is when you know how to do it con­scious­ly.