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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
Thread started 15 Jul 2012 (Sunday) 07:17
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Do non-photographers not value difficult shots?

Senior Member
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Location: Roaming the USA
Aug 27, 2012 17:02 |  #16

I actually don't like panned shots much either, but that is mostly what I shoot.

The real difficult thing is conveying action without motion. Something you have in your shots. Things like mud, tire smoke, exhaust flames etc. shot still and sharp with sell more than a pan shot every day.

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Cream of the Crop
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Location: "...just south of the 23rd Paralell..."
Aug 31, 2012 17:39 |  #17

cdifoto wrote in post #14718682 (external link)
Your frozen action shots have other things showing the dynamics of action that even to me are more preferable than a standard panning shot. Flying mud and water for example. You've also captured the frozen action at more pleasing angles than you did the pans.

These were exactlt my thoughts...
The non pan shots with the rain tell a far better story than the pans, which although are good, are just stock shots.

Edit...but I do like the way you've used that chalet/house in the background.

Regards, Phil
2019 South Australian Country Press Assoc Sports Photo of the Year - Runner Up
2018 South Australian Country Press Assoc Sports Photo of the Year
2018 CAMS (now Motorsport Australia) Gold Accredited Photographer
Finallist - 2014 NT Media Awards
"A bad day at the race track is better than a good day in the office"

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Joined Mar 2012
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Sep 02, 2012 17:18 |  #18

As seems to be the general consensus, I have found that most customers prefer the 'static' shallower depth of field shot to a pan. We have sold many more of the 'static' shots than we have of pans. The way I see it, people like to purchase or look at what they themselves cannot achieve in a photo. On basically any camera you can take a panning shot, or at the very least a fairly stationary shot with a massive depth of field. When they then see a nice crisp shot of their car or bike on the track, with it isolated nicely with a out of focus background they love it because its something that they generally are not able to do themselves. I personally generally keep my shutter speed as low as I can to achieve some wheel motion, but still keeping the aperture as wide as I can to achieve the separation people like. Normally somewhere around 1/320th, F3.5 ISO 50 with a fairly dark polariser on a sunny day.

This kind of shot is what seems to be the most popular (not necessarily the angle)

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500px (external link)

57 posts
Joined Dec 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Sep 15, 2012 20:59 |  #19

Given the shots shown, I know why they prefered the faster shutter speed shots...

The background! The houses are distracting....

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Sep 24, 2012 16:38 |  #20

the angle seems to be the difference for what I sell. Coming out of a corner but still mostly at the camera, stopped action. Side shot, panned blur.

I remember I showed a panned shot to a buddy of him on the freeway and he was like "dang, your camera sucks. My brothers camera can make the wheels stop and everything, like I was parked there". So, not everyone is looking to convey the speed.

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airbutchie - Joe was definitely right about adding contrast...

my very own Lightrules moment
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Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Sep 24, 2012 16:50 |  #21

I think that it's just that the frozen photos in evidence here are stronger images than the panning shots. Given the environments and backgrounds, the panning shots aren't conveying the proper feeling for the subject. MX isn't solely about's also about power and agility, both of which are more in evidence with the detritus flying through the air and the water falling in the "frozen" shots.

Take a look at shots 4 and 6. There is hardly any difference between the background blur of the panning shot (4) and the "frozen" shot at there isn't really a visual cue either way as to what is going on there. Also, you've cut off the point of contact between the tires and ground for the panning shots, so there isn't a good point of reference there, where you'd normally see the motion of the ground vs the tires.

But, 2/3 and 6 are more dynamic still because you can see the stuff in the air, and your brain recognizes that things don't just "hang" like that; so it interprets as 'action'.

Overall, 2 and 3 are terrific images that are well lit and moody, as well as well focused. The other shots are mostly "ho hum" due to the things noted above.

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"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

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Joined May 2010
Location: TEXAS
Sep 24, 2012 17:01 |  #22

i get about 50/50 on the pan vs non pan sales.

I will observe that given the choice between a boring shot of the side of the car with them driving, and just pieces of track on either side vs wheels blurring and everything else being sharp and in focus, they will take the wheels blurring shot.

Given the choice between the wheels blurring side shot, or a head on or 3/4 angle shot of them behind the wheel, where you can see the look of concentration in their eyes under the helment... they pick the shot where you can see the driver. :)

Snyd has some good points as well, so I won't repeat them, but good shots are good shots, regardless of the technique you used to make them. If you want to sell a panning shot, you have to put it in a context that makes sense. (makes a great poster, as long as you plan to stick it in something else like a border, with the track name, etc ) the head on shots or shots with 'not normal' things going on (flying mud/tire bits/ broken car pieces) will always be more sought after because it's a moment when something odd that the eye doesn't normally notice is there.

just depends on what people are looking for 'art' or 'documentation' :D

I personally enjoying previewing shots at 1:1 on a big screen for people at the track. Regardless of the composition of the image, going in that far and still being able to show sharpness and details is always 'impressive'. "Yes sir, you can make this a BIG poster and hang it in the garage, no problem. we can't print em that big at the track, but we can take your order today.' :) That kind of backfires when it's the guy who ones a chain of sign printing companies though LOL

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Do non-photographers not value difficult shots?
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
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