Laboratory in action

WPC: Using Motion Blur in Photography

At one point I had to photograph a high school lab skills competition for the ‘Outreach’ portion of UBC’s Chemistry website.

The biggest problem I faced was that most of the students were under 19, the ‘age of majority’ in British Columbia, and therefore not able to give the university legal permission to put ‘recognizable’ photos of them up on the web.

As I went in to shoot the competition I was thinking maybe a long shot of a lot of backs in white lab coats, or perhaps some close-ups of hands.

Then one of the graduate student who was assisting in the competition suggested just blurring their faces like you see on TV. Brilliant!

I put the ISO down to 100 and shot from a tripod so there was a lot of motion blur. There was one student who was still recognizable so I added a smear of motion blur to her face in Photoshop.

I only needed one shot and here it is; just look at those kids scurry around the lab!

Lab with motion blur, both real and photoshopped
Lab with motion blur, both real and photoshopped

More on the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur

4 thoughts on “WPC: Using Motion Blur in Photography

  1. This permission thing is one I think about a lot when taking photos of people, something I don’t do all that often for that very reason. When I first started taking photos more years ago than I care to count, it was emphasized that in order to use someone’s picture (to publish it), you needed a release form. Now I have no idea what the actual requirement is and whether or not using photos on a blog without any permission violates that.


    1. There’s masses of information out there about what’s legal and what’s not, and the web has only complicated this.

      The University, being ‘deep pockets’, was especially vulnerable to being sued and had two different type of permission forms prepared, one where for a sum of money the person in the photo gave up all their rights, and the other where the student, or their guardian if they were under the age of 19, gave permission to use the photo for specific purposes, the key here being that if they found their photo being used for some other purpose they could request payment, or have the photo removed…

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