This simple camera trick is ridiculously easy and induces smiles like babies’ giggles and puppy face licks. The zoom effect (also referred to as zoom blur or zoom burst) creates motion lines and gives your photo a bit of an abstract, artistic feel.
The secret- have a slow shutter speed and while taking the picture, twist the zoom lens. If you have a point and shoot camera, then move your camera towards or away from the subject. Really, that’s it, easy, and the shortest photography tip I’ve written. Woo-hoo! I’m done.
Ok, you talked me into it, I’ll give a few more suggestions. I find myself saying this quite often, just play around. As with most experimentation, not all of the photos will turn out and they’ll end up in the delete folder. That’s just fine, go forth and have fun!
Hand-holding the camera is possible, but it can be a little tricky. It can add shakiness and cause the photo to be overly blurry. I’ve had luck with the shutter speed around 1/30th of a second (with vibration compensation on the lens) while not using a tripod. Anything slower than that, and I usually get unwanted blurriness. For better results, bring your tripod along.
Two Tips for Capturing Impressive and Creative Photos
1. Slow Shutter Speed
A good place to start is in the “shutter-priority” mode and play with different speeds between 1/30th of a second and 2 seconds. There isn’t one shutter speed that’s going to work for all situations. If the lighting conditions are bright and pictures are over exposed, then consider switching to “manual” mode. Set the ISO to the lowest setting, usually 100, so the camera is less sensitive to light. Then increase the F-Stop (aperture) to the F20-F30 range (the aperture opening shrinks and less light enters the camera).
2. Zoom, Zoom
The different zooming techniques change the effects of the photo. What’s great, is there is no “right” or “wrong” way. It depends on your taste and what creative mood you happen to be in at that moment.
Zoom as smoothly as possible, maintaining constant speed. This will reduce the motion lines from looking “jerky”.
Zoom one way- either start out at a wide angle on your subject and zoom in. Or reverse it, by starting focused closer on your subject and then zooming out.
Pause for a moment while zooming (at start, middle, or end) which will bring different points of the scene into focus and be clearer in your shot.
Partial zoom- I have a 28-270mm lens and it can be too much motion if I start at one end and go all the way to the other. Instead, I zoom in smaller ranges.
Flash it- fire a burst of flash at the start or end of your exposure. This freezes the subject in sharp focus, but keeps the blurred effect.
Endless possibilities abound! For additional fun and experimentation, try lights and night photography. Unleash your creativity and go play!