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This is How: ‘Equanimity’ by Agata Szymanowicz

In the second of our new series here on This is Reportage: Family, ‘This is How‘, we’re honoured to have the brilliant Agata Szymanowicz taking us behind the scenes on how she captured this Reportage Family Award of hers.

Agata shares so much in this piece, including the exact settings she used to get this motion blur with sharpness with the panning technique, her life in lockdown, her edit (including the SOOC version), and more…


“This image was taken at the beginning of the pandemic, during the first lockdown. I had managed to order a garden swing only days before the whole country ground to a halt, and it kept us all sane for the next three months. My kids – almost three and almost seven at that time – were using it daily and it provided us all with a much-needed respite from the failures of home-schooling and just being stuck in our four walls.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I sat and wrote down some priorities for myself:

  • Look after our mental health and wellbeing.
  • Strengthen my relationship with the kids.
  • Concentrate on photography.

The last thing was very important to me as my job – the job I love so much – got cancelled without any notice. So I set off documenting our life in lockdown (as I know many other photographers did). My kids soon figured out that I will do a lot and sacrifice a lot to get a good shot and that if they play their cards right, they will be able to get away with much more than usual. They would ask me: “Mummy, can we get naked and play with the hose in the garden? You can come with us and take your camera!”. It was March, 8 degrees C. I said yes 😊

On that particular day my goal was to get a dynamic picture of their swinging antics. I wanted to get quite a lot of blur so I used panning – I followed the swing movement with my camera. I was using my Canon 5D MK III with a 24-70 mm lens (at 38mm). The settings were: ISO 200, f 13, 1/30th sec.

It took quite a few tries, and a degree of luck, to get the final result. I have since then upgraded my camera to Canon R5 and, with the eye-tracking focus, it would probably be much easier to get a shot like this!

I turned the image to B&W – I love B&W, it’s my go-to for family documentary photos. I also wanted to make the image a bit more dramatic and get rid of the distracting orange jackets.

Straight out of camera


Final edited image


This picture became a symbol of the pandemic for me. Or maybe not so much the pandemic, but our resilience in the face of it. How, in the midst of darkness, chaos and constant flux, we can find stillness and joy.

The home-schooling wasn’t a complete failure in our house after all – my children managed to teach me something!

The image is now on our wall (150 cm wide!), a daily reminder of what’s important in my life 😊” – Agata


Thanks so much, Agata! Find out more about Agata on her This is Reportage: Family profile, and her website.

Read more of our ‘This is How’ pieces over here (more to come soon…)

Interested in joining us? Find out all the benefits of membership and apply to join us over here – the deadline for our next round of Awards is just days away: Submit by 23:59 GMT on 23rd November 2021.

family photography

Family photography


family photography

family photography

family photography

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