How to take zoom blur photos?

Zoom blur photography is a photographic technique in which a zoom lens with a zoom ring zooms in and out when the shutter is open to create an explosion.

This is a type of long exposure photography that uses the same technique as light painting. Zooming is easy, but like all photography techniques, it takes time and practice to master.

1. What is zoom blur photography?

The basics of zoom blur photography are very simple. Think about it, if the shutter speed is not fast enough to freeze the action, then anything that moves when the shutter is open will blur. Similarly, if your camera or lens moves while the subject is still, it will cause a blur effect, depending on the type of movement.

Zoom out and blur the photo

When the shutter is open, a zoom lens is a blur created by the zoom lens continuously changing the focal length of the lens from one value to another during exposure. These lines act as guidelines to guide the viewer to the object in focus.

If you’re wondering what zoom shots look like, they’re characterized by blurry stripes that seem to emanate from the center of the photo, making the viewer feel like they’re entering the frame.

2. Which scenes can be shot with a zoom blur?

If you’re shooting during the day, choose symmetrical structures that contrast with strong colors.

You can also shoot zooms in woods or wilderness where you have symmetrical arrays of trees or large numbers of trees with direct sunlight shining through the canopy.

If you’re shooting at night, use zoom to capture the night sky, night scenes, towering glowing buildings, glowing bridges, and all kinds of glowing objects.

Locations with mixed or different colors of lights can make interesting images.

Telephoto lens shot of mountains

3. Time to take zoom blurred photos

Any time of day is a good time to zoom. It’s best to avoid the harsh midday sun, as the light is too strong for prolonged exposure. Of course, you can use a neutral density gray filter!

4. Equipment for taking zoom blurred photos

First, SLR or mirrorless cameras.

Second, you need a zoom lens with a manual zoom ring. Zoom lenses with medium zoom capability are sufficient to produce this effect.

Third, a sturdy tripod. If you are using a shutter speed such as 1/60s or 1/30s, you can shoot with a handheld device. But if you need to focus and get a neat, smooth, even zoom, use a tripod.

Fourth, use an in-machine timer to delay the release of the shutter or use a shutter release line, and release remotely to avoid shaking due to the release of the shutter.

5. How to take zoom blurred photos?

You don’t need any fancy equipment to get started with a zoom – just a DSLR with a zoom lens and optional tripod.

Dusk with a telephoto lens

First, mount the camera on a tripod. We’ll be using long shutter speeds, so this will help keep the blurred lines straight. If you don’t have a tripod, you can stand the camera against a wall or a tree. If you don’t mind a slight wobble, you can even hold the camera.

Select shutter priority mode and select a shutter speed of approximately 1 to 4 seconds. Fully zoom in and focus on your topic. If your camera allows, lock focus and exposure at this point so that you know your subjects will be correct when they fill the frame.

Now zoom out to the maximum angle you want to capture. Press the shutter button and zoom in until the subject fills the frame again. Try to zoom as smoothly as possible, maintaining a constant speed throughout and before the exposure ends.

If your photos are overexposed, try using a narrower aperture, installing an ND filter, or reducing the shutter speed. You can get good results in about 1/8 of a second, although you have to zoom faster to compensate.

Taking zoom blur photos is all about time, and getting them right can be tricky, so you’ll need to be patient. Constantly review your photos on your camera’s LCD screen and make any necessary adjustments as you go along.

Snow scene with telephoto lens

6. Ways to make your zoom blur more interesting

(1) Rotate the camera

Do not turn the zoom ring of the lens, but keep it completely still and rotate the camera. This adds a dramatic spiral effect to the zoom tandem.

(2) Shrink rather than enlarge

In the tutorial above, you start by zooming out the camera and then moving into the subject. Change everything, starting with a full zoom and then pulling out of the scene. This makes a subtle difference.

(3) Use flash

With a slow sync flash, you can emit a burst of light at the beginning or end of the exposure. This freezes the subject in sharp focus but keeps it blurry for creative effect. When the subject fills the frame, it is best to have the flash on a timer. Use the “front curtain” or “back curtain” Settings depending on whether you are zooming in or out.

A duck with a telephoto lens

(4) Shooting at night

The zoom effect is ideal for night photography due to the long exposure time involved. The bright lights of the city will also create amazing trails of light in your shot.

(5) Use local scaling

You don’t have to use the full focal range of the lens. Try using a smaller zoom range to see how the effect changes.

(6) Pause while scaling

Instead of continuously moving the camera throughout the shot, try pausing for a moment at the beginning or end of the exposure, or even in the middle. You can do this one or more times to focus on the scene at different points.

Taking zoom blur photos is all about creativity, so give it a try and see if you can do something unique with things.

Flowers with a telephoto lens

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