WEEK 50: Intentional Camera Movement – 2017 Trevor Carpenter Photochallenge

I’ve never been a fan of ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) techniques for two reasons. The first is I’m more of an editorial photographer. The second reason, I never really found anyone who applied the techniques in a way that pleased my eyes.

All of that changed the day I met Canadian Photographer, Richard Martin. Richard is a great photographer with a passion for what he does that is pretty much unmatched. He’s a great communicator and I was exposed to his photography for the first time in a conference where he pretty much impressed me with his energy, passion and above all, a special gift for creative photography.

I invite you to take a look at Richard’s MOTION GALLERY before you keep on reading…

There are different techniques to producing creative images while moving your camera in one or more fashion. You can even go to the extreme of throwing your camera in the air as it triggers on a self-timer…but I really don’t recommend it…

Let’s cover some ICM techniques that make some common sense. This will go in direct conflict with everything I’ve always preached regarding using a tripod to achieve sharp images through enhanced stability. ICM effects are achieved by using longer exposures generally up to half a second. I’ve found that in most cases 1/8th of a second exposure is a good start. To work with wider apertures on a bright sunny day you may want o use an ND filter or even a circular polarizer to help reduce the amount of light entering the camera.

Vertical Movement :

This is pretty simple and often seen used with trees as a subject. This makes sense as the vertical geometry of a tree gets enhanced by the technique. You’re technically moving the camera angle slightly up or down… kind of a quick flick up or down…You can even wiggle from left to right to add to your end result.


Horizontal Side to Side movement:

A slight pivot on the horizontal line can create interesting effects with the horizon and circular movement on closer ground objects. With a slow speed and a handheld exposure it’s like a pan if you use it in one direction following a subject or you can quickly wiggle back and forth, a single or multiple times until you get the desired effect.

je croirai toujours à l'innocence du hasard

Circular motion:

Most often used pointing up at a tree-covered sky, you’re simply moving your camera in a circular motion while keeping the lens pointed steadily in the direction of your subject. With some subjects, I would experiment with longer than usual exposure times to get the full effect.


There’s a whole variety of little movements you can try with a variety of exposure times. From little check mark movement to circular motions with your lens, don’t be afraid to experiment. I would avoid exposing longer than 1/2 a second as you may just lose the definition of your subject completely.

This week is all about having FUN with your camera while exploring a very creative and abstract side of photography. You can over expose as well as you can under expose. Your goal is to create a mind-boggling image where we can still recognize basic subjects in some form or another. The only restriction is NO ZOOM BLUR effects without a camera movement as well.

Smartphone users should look for a camera app that supports manual mode, your built-in app may already have a manual mode as well. Mine does but I also use an android app called Manual Camera by Geeky Devs Studio.

If you need more inspiring examples here’s a link to ICM IMAGES on FLICKR.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Facebook, or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.

3 Replies to “WEEK 50: Intentional Camera Movement – 2017 Trevor Carpenter Photochallenge”

  1. Emma McPherson

    thanks for the intro to Richard Martin’s work I followed through to Instagram and told him about this post, so he may drop by. Great challenge for the week I have a night drive series in which the whole camera is panned or rotated during a long exposure as the vehicle is driving along. I only started it this year in dust in the Australian outback, really like it as a style now. But tried something new for your week.