1. Think about the feelings you’re trying to convey with movement.
In this photo, the city serves as the backdrop, and the churning water is the primary focus. Decide what the focus is before you start shooting, because with too many subjects, the motion can be chaotic, and you’ll end up losing your viewer’s attention.
2. Play around with portraits. Take a photo of a friend from a fixed location and capture their mannerisms through a series of photos, then try editing the motion for artistic effects.
Auto Awesome photos can take a simple series of portrait photos and turn them into an animation that conveys emotions and gestures.
You can quickly push this technique in a creative direction by selectively editing the photo series before you upload it to Google+. Make a subject fly by timing photographs to capture the top of a jump and deleting any photo with feet touching the ground.
3. Determine the boundaries of the action you’re trying to capture and set your frame correctly.
A common mistake when creating a motion photo using time-lapse techniques is missing a part of the action when the subject moves outside of the frame. Think about your shot for a couple minutes before locking in on your framing.
4. Tell stories by animating distinct scenes like a filmmaker storyboarding the action.
This experience with a hot dog stand was broken into an establishing shot and an action shot.
5. Experiment with the burst settings on your camera.
On DSLR cameras, these are often activated using the “sport” setting for quick motion. To achieve fluid motion, check the buffer settings in your camera so you capture the appropriate duration of movement at short intervals.
6. Motion photos give you the power to bring inanimate objects to life.
Taking multiple photographs of a stationary object from a gradually shifting position can yield a 3D effect.
You can also take multiple photos while zooming in on a subject to focus the viewer’s attention. To pull off a smooth zoom, use a tripod or set your camera on a stable surface. As you zoom in, the light levels will change, so experiment with manual focus modes to achieve the best results.
7. Use motion to build atmosphere in nature scenes.
In this series of photographs, a single photo couldn’t have communicated the brisk wind and the sensation of the sunlight coming through patchy clouds.
8. Tell stories about physical spaces by shooting a series of photos that capture multiple subjects and their actions.
Experiment with the frequency of your photos to capture the rhythm of the people in a given location. Locations with faster motion, like a freeway, will require a quicker sequence of photos than a slower-paced location, like a sidewalk with pedestrians on a Sunday stroll.
Experiment by moving the focal point while taking a series of photos to create an immersive sensation.
9. Decide what you’d most like to animate and figure out the timing for that subject.
In this photograph, the primary subject is the clouds, which flow fluidly while other objects zip by at a rapid pace. A faster burst of photographs could show the cars moving at a normal pace, while the clouds would seem static.
10. Create cinemagraphic effects by isolating one or two moving elements in an otherwise still image.
In this Motion photo, your eye is drawn to the fluttering flag that is set against the immovable Brooklyn Bridge.
11. For a more advanced photographic technique, take photos with motion blurs to accentuate fast motion.
In this photo, each of the frames is blurred, but the animation gives the viewer the impression it’s blurring before their eyes. Experiment with your f-stop settings to get this effect.
12. And always remember, all you need are a few good shots to show motion.
This GIF of ice skaters was created with only five frames.