Intentional Camera Movement Basics: Photos with a Unique Look (VIDEO)

Most of us concentrate on capturing photos that are as sharp and detailed as can be. But this tutorial flips the script by demonstrating how moving the camera during a longish exposure will result in images with a captivating and unique look.

This rule-breaking technique is known as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) and some photographers avoid it because of a misconception that's it's difficult to accomplish. As you'll see in this beginners guide, nothing could be further from the truth once you understand the basics. Results may be unpredictable, but they're usually eye-catching and very impressive.

Instructor Tony Howell is a successful British landscape photographer and prolific author whose client list includes prestigious outlets like National Geographic, the BBC, Penguin Books, UNICEF, and other respected outlets. In this 11-minute episode he demonstrates a variety of  straightforward ICM techniques that will enable you to expand your skills and add an entirely new emphasis to your image library.

ICM comes in a variety of forms that all requires shutter speed settings that are a bit longer (but not too long) than you'd use to capture conventional photos. Depending on the specific scene and the desired effect you may want to move the camera up and down, side to side, in a circular fashion, or in a totally random fashion. In essence, experimentation is the name of the game.

And while the typical approach involves shooting hand-held, you'll learn a trick for tripod-mounted ICM photographs. Howell also demonstrates how panning with the camera while tracking a moving subject will create dynamic imagery that is somewhat more predictable.

Howell discusses the best shutter speeds to use in various situations. When shooting during the day this often means small apertures, low ISO settings, or an NDA filter to cut the amount of light entering the camera

This is a behind-the-scenes video so it's easy to understand Howell's advice because you'll watch him do his thing while explaining the techniques. After watching the lesson you may even decide to make ICM photography your photo assignment over the weekend.

We suggest taking advantage of Howell's 40 years of experience by paying a visit to his instructional YouTube channel.

And for another enlightening camera technique be sure to watch the tutorial we featured that demonstrates how to use a camera's Spot Metering mode so that you never under- or overexpose a photograph again.