ICM – Intentional Camera Movement

Photography is many things.  It’s a science of sorts, it’s a craft, a profession, but first and foremost it is an art.  As you no doubt already know there are many different forms of photography.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 10.00.53 AM

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) is one of them, it’s an abstract form of photography that, when executed nicely, can produce very pleasing results.  The photographs that you’ll see in the flickr group ICM look as though they were painted for the walls of an art gallery.  ICM photographs are created by either panning the camera from side to side, up and down, diagonally, etc while the shutter is open or more seldom it can be done by zooming in and out while the shutter is open.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis shot was taken handheld for 15 seconds

ICM is an art in and of itself, don’t expect to just start flailing your camera around like a madman and come up with astonishing photographs (though a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while).  Finding engaging subject matter is just as important with ICM as it is without, following compositional rules (like the rule of thirds) won’t hurt either.

Getting Started

  • You’ll need a camera that give you creative control over your shutter speed, point and shoot cameras are not ideal for ICM photography.
  • Start with two or three-second shutter speeds until you get an idea of what you are capable of.
  • When getting started you’ll want to follow an even plane, choose whether you want to pan to the right or left, up or down, or diagonal and stick to that.  If you start bobbing and weaving you’ll look like you had a stroke mid photo.  Not to mention how ridiculous you’ll look flailing around next to the beach with your camera.  Tourists!
  • Lighting is just as important, taking photos around dusk or dawn tend to work really well.  Also, Autumn is a fantastic time to give ICM a shot because of the various colors of the fall foliage.
  • Check out Flickr Groups (like this one) for ideas and read the discussion for tips on technique.
  • Most importantly, have a good time.

Are you a natural at ICM?  Feel free to share your experiences with us through the Submit an Article link in the main menu (or just click here) using the Photo Journal category.  If you found this article interesting then please share it using one of the billions social networks that you belong to… because everyone will think you’re smart for reading this.

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