I’ve written about intentional camera movement before and will do again in the future. I often show this technique to those attending my workshops. Most enjoy it and go on to play some more – if only occasionally. It’s another way of interpreting the scene you are looking at.

However, when you post an ICM photo online, the size is inevitably small. And this online size doesn’t really show off all the finer details of the shot. And there is so much more to these images than simply a blurred shot.

Meeting at the quay

“If we could see art through the eyes of a child, how rich would we be”

I took this photo yesterday. It’s a shot of Joanne and Kevin at The Quay in Westport. The weather was sunny as we wandered along. I used a Lee 6-stop filter to give me an exposure time of 3/5 of a second – f10 and ISO 100. Obviously with a slight camera and subject movement.

meeting at the quay

Just a little edit

Besides opening up the shadows a little in Lightroom, this is straight out of the camera. It comes complete with various ‘distractions’ – the yellow life buoy, the coffee cup on the ground and various other stuff. Generally, I’d try to avoid these ‘extra’ distractions but I think they work here.

Yes, it’s intentional camera movement and when you first see it, all it offers us is a blurred photo – one for the bin in the eyes of many photographers. But if we were to print this out big, what else is there to see? Let’s take a closer look.

Let’s take a closer look

Two faces for the price of one. Maybe a smiling face and a listening face. The picture is alive and records the passage of time – a real-life moment or moments. Nice light and skin tones. It makes the viewer think about what they are looking at and gives them options when deciphering the picture.

detail of photo

Picture in picture

Painterly landscapes appear in the picture and contribute to the overall scene. Even with the intentional camera movement, the natural colours of the location are preserved. Anyone from Ireland will immediately recognise these shrubs. Some may even recognise the location.
In a ‘regular’ photo, this detail may be overshadowed by the main subjects.


Body parts blur into and become part of the scene, adding texture. This helps to remove the dominance of any one subject and makes the picture work together as a whole.

Light and shadow still play a very important function – as it does in all photos. The movement adds interestingness. Items like the paper cup (We took it home with us) although still recognisable, add a moment of thought – should it be there – why is it there – who put it there.


Ambiguity – is he, is she, what is their reaction? Why are they looking away? Are they looking away? When movement is introduced to a photo, it tells a story of the passage of time, an incident, a moment or memory. It makes us ask questions.

If it doesn’t do this to you, then maybe you are reading too many technical manuals about photography and photographic equipment.

Picture in picture

The next time you are out shooting, you need to ask questions of yourself, the people you are with and the locations you are shooting. I believe when you do this, then good photographs will follow.

If you’ve read this far, thanks. Feel free to comment, like or share. Respect.