Photo Challenge 3: ‘Movement & Motion´ by Chris Gurton

For the third in our series of photography challenges, Currys invites Chris Gurton, an award winning photographer based in Essex specialising in motorsports and action photography, to set a challenge that encapsulates “Movement & Motion”.

24 Jul 2013


Currys Photo Challenge 3


Welcome back to the third of our series of photography challenges. Each week, Currys will invite a leading UK photography expert to set our readers a photography challenge for the opportunity to win a 'One Day Photography Course' and a Nikon Coolpix S6500 camera! 

This week Currys invites Chris Gurton, an award winning photographer based in Essex specialising in Motorsports and action photography, to set a challenge that encapsulates "Movement & Motion".

This challenge is to produce an image that creates a sense of "Movement & Motion". Practice definitely makes perfect but it's not just sports photography that is enhanced by the sense of movement. So for this challenge, don't be afraid to think outside the box.

To enter, go to the Currys PC World Facebook page.


static girl

Movement is all around us and is part of everyday life.


Tip: Panning is a technique that really helps you to capture the movement of your subject. The better you are at this, the better your photos will be. This involves using your body to follow and track your subject to keep it in focus with a slow shutter speed, despite the subjects speed. Remember to hold your DSLR or camera of choice steady and track your subject whilst it is in frame whilst rotating your body. Press the shutter whilst still moving using a slower shutter speed than you would normally. Practice makes perfect, you may need to experiment with shutter speeds to find the right balance between background blur and keeping the subject sharp. This depends on the speed of the subject. For example, a cyclist won't be travelling as fast as a car and will therefore need a slower shutter speed to convey the sense of speed. It is also worth considering the environment and background when wanting to express a sense of speed. When panning, people, trees and buildings behind the subject help to express speed when blurred. An empty background can create less of a sense of speed so slowing the shutter speed even more to blur part of the subject can help compensate. But remember to keep some of the subject in sharp focus.


Static Race Car

The environment can really help enhance the sense of speed and motion within a photo.

Tip: Shutter speed is so important when capturing movement so learning and practicing with different speeds to gain knowledge of how they can affect your photos is vital. For example, a race car travelling at high speed can look stationary when using a high shutter speed. You'll want to slow the shutter speed down so the wheels and background become blurred to give the impression of speed.


Moving Race Car

Capturing movement in motorsport is vital but it isn't just sport that provides opportunities to capture motion.


Tip: There are times when the subject matter isn't the part of the photo that you want to convey a sense of movement, but the environment or background. For this you still need a slow shutter speed but you also need a steady camera. A good tripod is invaluable and if can get one, a shutter release cable is worthwhile too. However, sometimes it isn't practical to carry a tripod everywhere to placing your camera on a sturdy object such as a wall or bench can still help. If the subject is a person, remember to keep them still. Any movement from them whilst taking the photo will mean they will be blurred too. Spend some time planning and setting up the shot. Your subject doesn't have to fill the frame. Sometimes more emphasis on the environment can create a better photo and tell a story.


Moving Train

A tripod can be a vital piece of kit for any photographer who wants to work with slow shutter speeds.


Tip: Another way of capturing movement is by using slow sync flash. This technique combines a longer shutter speed with the aid of a flashgun so elements in the shot are frozen still while other elements remain blurry. This is useful in low light situations, but remember, if used in a sporting situation, make sure your flash gun won't startle, surprise or blind your subject. Slow sync flash can be used either handheld or with tripod and again is something that you can experiment to find out what works best for you in different situations but it can provide some really great results.


Muddy Bicycle

Slow Sync Flash can provide a different perspective of speed and motion with great results.


Tip: When using slow shutter speeds you need to remember that more light is let in and can overexpose your photo. There are a few ways to try and counteract this however. Firstly check the aperture on your camera. The larger it is, the more light that will be let in. Reducing the aperture will help decrease the amount of light let in. Secondly, check your ISO settings. High ISO can cause the camera to be overly sensitive to light and add unwanted 'Noise' to the photo. Setting the ISO to low will help to decrease light. If these still don't help reduce the amount of light, then Neutral Density or ND filters for your lens will help block the amount of light coming into your photo when using a slow shutter speed.


bicycle race

Different subjects travel at different speeds. A cyclist will need a slower shutter speed than a race car.


For this challenge I want you to have fun and experiment. There is plenty of scope to be creative so don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and feel free to think outside the box. Try different angles as well as different shutter speeds to see what works and what doesn't. Sport isn't the only subject that covey's a sense of movement and motion so don't feel that you are confined to just that one subject matter.

I'm looking for photos with real impact which draw the viewer into the action. Movement is all around us and ready to be captured in a photo. A good knowledge of technique should be on show and try not to use too much post processing. I like images that are as they were captured on the camera as this shows real ability out in the field rather than just at a computer. But remember, don't put yourself in danger in your quest for capturing that great photo. Make sure you stay safe and don't put others at risk either.


Horse Running

Getting the balance between motion blur and keeping the subject sharp can take a lot of practice.


This challenge features something that is part of everyday life and is all around us. As someone who often photographs motorsport, I'm used to capturing movement, motion and speed but know how challenging it can be. We take it for granted but movement and motion can often be quite difficult to capture in a still photograph. But when it is captured, the results can be spectacular.

Have fun, but remember to stay safe,

Chris Gurton

Visit for more examples of Chris's work and join him on Facebook and Twitter.


All images copyright Chris Gurton Photography