What is Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) Photography?

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

How I tried ICM photography for the first time.

It has been around for years, but somehow I have never tried it. Now that we are in self-isolation, we have more time to spend in front of the internet. Right? Exactly that is what I do nowadays and try to stay creative with what I have at home and around home.

ICM photography caught my eye while scrolling down those never ending possibilities on how to stay creative at home as a photographer. Let's dive into it.

What is ICM?

It means that you move your camera intentionally throughout the exposure to get a certain abstract effect. You have to use a long shutter speed to achieve your final effect. You can do it in low light conditions or use a ND filter (4-stop or max 6-stop).

While you hit that shutter button, your shutter is open and you are moving the camera. You can move your camera vertically or horizontally or even rotate, it is up to your taste. There are no rules, it is truly an abstract style of shooting.

What do you need?

- A camera which capable of long exposure.


- ND filter

- Tripod or Gimbal

How to setup your camera?

Shoot in manual mode and with manual focus. Choose the right shutter speed. As I said before, there are no rules, so all depends on the final effect. Start at 1/10 sec and work your shutter speed up to 1/30 sec. Take several images of one subject, you never know until post production which are the ones you will like the most.


There are different options how you can edit your ICM images. It is again, up to your taste. Some photographers transfer their photographs into editing software and choose the best ones they like, make some basic corrections (light, vibrancy, shadows, white balance) and are ready with it.

Other photographers tweak them further. Using multiple images stacking them together and playing with blend modes within layers until their masterpiece is ready.

Here is an easy, simple way to take artsy images:

Canon EOS 700D, f/18, 1/6sec, ISO-100, focal length 155mm

Canon EOS 700D, f/18, 1/6sec, ISO-100, focal length 155mm

Equipment I used:

- Canon EOS 700D

- Canon 75-300mm lens

- YoTylon DSLR Lightweight Travel Tripod

Taking the photos

I did not use the ND filter, as it was a cloudy, rainy day outside with low light conditions. I was shooting through the window the pine trees in front of the building. You can find the settings I used under the images.

On the first image above you can see I tilted my camera up and down during the shot. On the second image I was panning to the left then back through the shot.


Once I was happy with the images, I took them to Photoshop and made some corrections to my liking. I shot the images using Raw, so I had greater freedom to tweak the colors and lights. I highly recommend you shoot your photos in Raw files.

That's it, Your wall art is ready!

I hope you have learned something new from this tutorial. If you have enjoyed it please feel free to like it, share it or comment on it.

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