Move the camera
Freezing a moving subject with a fast shutter speed is one thing, but, ironically, the resulting photograph can sometimes appear rather static. To give a greater sensation of speed, it’s often more effective to use a slightly slower shutter speed and move the camera to follow a moving subject. By panning the camera at the same speed as the subject, they’ll stay (more or less) in the same position in the frame, but the rest of the scene will have moved a great deal in comparison and will be rendered as blurred streaks.
Obviously this is a technique that takes time to master. As Andy points out in
Capture the Moment, “It’s really important to pan at exactly the same speed as the subject, so don’t speed up or slow down. It takes a bit of practice to keep level through the whole pan.” Keeping the lens level is important, as you only want the movement to appear blurred in one plane – typically horizontally across the picture rather than vertically as well. To help with this, you can attach your lens to a monopod, which gives you the freedom to pan but prevents the lens wobbling up and down. Alternatively, use a Vibration Reduction lens which automatically detects the direction of panning and stops trying to correct the intentional movement in that plane.
The subject doesn’t even have to be moving very fast for this technique to work, you’ll simply need to adjust your shutter speed to a slower setting.
Andy also recommends using flash at the same time as a pan-blur to enhance the effect, something that works well for cyclists: “It is similar to a normal pan blur, but the flash gives more detail and brightens the subject.” You’ll need to be working at shutter speeds slower than the flash sync speed (usually 1/200 sec or 1/250 sec) and with the flash set to slow-sync mode to ensure that you capture detail in the background. Rear-curtain sync will allow the blurred motion to streak behind the flash-lit subject.