Stunning Camera Zoom Effects

car, motion blur, sunsetA photography zoom effect is when the subject in a photo appears to be moving towards or away from the camera. You can create this effect in apps such as Photoshop by using the radial blur effect, but we’re only going to cover how to do this with your camera.

How to Do it

The basics to creating this effect is to first set your shutter speed to slow for a longer exposure, next focus on your subject and then depress the shutter and zoom in or out straight away before the shutters close again.

Using a tripod is common when using this technique, and you might think what’s the point if you’re trying to blur the photo anyway. Well it does have the benefit of keeping the blurred lines straight and not adding extra wobble, but this wobble effect can also work well, so a tripod is an optional extra really.

This technique will take a bit of practice and the effect will look different for each shot depending on how much you zoom and the shutter speed you use. Choosing the right shutter speed will depend on the amount of light in your scene, whether it’s day time or night time and the effect you want to achieve.

Here’s a few tips to help you out:

-If you’re shooting during the day or in bright conditions then you will need to either use a faster shutter speed or reduce the shutter speed by using a narrower aperture and decreasing the ISO number to the lowest setting.

-For dark scenes at night you will need a longer shutter speed to properly expose the image, but if the speed is too slow then try increasing the ISO to speed this up.

-The shutter speed you choose will also depend on the amount of movement you want to achieve, so slower shutter speeds are good for capturing the most movement.

Some Useful Techniques

You have the choice of either zooming in or zooming out, and these will both have a different effect on the look of your image, so be sure to test out both to see which works for you.

Shutter priority is a good choice for this type of photography because the shutter speed is key to getting the right effect. You can change the shutter speed using aperture priority, but this will require changing the aperture and the shutter speed may change quite quickly when pointing the camera at different subjects, so it’s important to use shutter priority to make sure the shutter speed stays the same.

When you’re doing the actual zooming try to do it smoothly and at the same speed throughout.

A Few Different Ideas

-There’s other ways to achieve a similar effect without actually using your camera zoom. One of these is rotating the camera while keeping the zoom the same for a cool spiral effect.

-You don’t have to use the full zoom range of your lens, try just using just part of it for a different effect.

-Try pausing while you zoom to focus on different points throughout the scene, for example you could pause at the start or end or even part way through the exposure.

The Subject

Certain subjects are more suited to the zoom effect, for example patterns, lights and anything with strong colours work the best.

Finally keep practicing and take lots of shots because you won’t get it right the first time and you can get different effects with each shot.

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