Impressionism (or intentional camera movement) is a genre of photography which uses various techniques to produce painterly images in a multitude of styles. We began experimenting with icm work about 13 years ago, focussing solely on ‘in camera’ images, as opposed to creating the effects in post production. Here are a few of our top tips.
Start with a shutter speed of around 0.4” and work in small increments either way from there, making adjustments as necessary (use shutter priority unless you’re very comfortable with manual, that way you can concentrate on technique and experimentation).
We typically shoot these between 50 and 200mm – it can be trickier to achieve good results with wide-angle lenses. (Image: a moment of light during a snow storm over the sea, Faroe Islands)
A pile of gravel or a bunch of old bamboo sticks can make just as great a picture as a beautiful vista.
When considering how to move the camera, try following similar lines to the subject e.g. vertical for trees or side-to-side for horizons. Soft and flowing or abrupt and choppy movements will produce very different image styles.
Review each image carefully in the LCD – make sure there’s nothing there you didn’t want (bright points of light or a blown highlight from the sky can be particularly annoying, unless you make them work for you. Zoom in to make sure the effect looks good – not just an obviously blurry picture. Beware of ‘ghosting’ in busy scenes.
As with many photography projects, shooting local is a great idea, you can access venues more often and engage with your subjects in a very immersive way, as well as understanding how the light changes with time of day and season.
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