Zoom Effect Photography Tips

Zooming is a photography technique that gives the impression of motion in the pictures (which look like the subject is either moving towards or away from you with motion lines) by changing the focal length of the lens. It’s also known as racking the lens.

What you need to do to get this effect is set your shutter speed to a longer exposure, compose, focus and take a shot. While taking the shot between when the shutter opens and actually closes, you need to zoom in or zoom out your lens.

Image by Don Pableras

Here are a few tips to help you improve your results:

Keep the Camera Still – as you will be using a slow shutter speed any movement of the camera will significantly impact your shot. Ultimately you want to capture a zooming movement in these shots so any side to size or up and down shake will impact the smoothness of the lines in your image. To eliminate camera shake use a tripod.

Shutter speed – Choose a shutter speed long enough to zoom your lens from one end to another  there is no one shutter speed that will work for all situations. Factors to consider will include the levels of light, the speed at which you’ll zoom, Type of lens you are using etc. The key is to experiment with different shutter speeds to see what works best. Always experiment with different shutter speeds and see the result. Different setting may result in different level of effect.

Aperture – While aperture setting is not the most critical to obtain a nice zoom effect but when using a slower shutter speeds you might have a problem in over exposed situation (depending on the overall lighting situation) as it lets more light into your camera. You can cope with the potential over exposed situation by selecting a larger aperture (large f numbers).

Zooming – To get a nice smooth motion lines in your image, you need to be able to zoom smoothly and constantly (nice smooth flow while zooming). Do not speed up at one point and later slow down at another point while zooming. It does not matter if you either zoom in or zoom out to get the effect as zooming in on a subject will give you a different result than zooming out. Try both way and you will see the different effects.

Image by Marvin

Pause mid-zoom – another technique to experiment is to pause your zooming either at the start, end or during the procedure (while the shutter is still open). This will mean that what your camera sees at the point when you pause your zoom will be stronger and hopefully clearer in your shot.

Fire your Flash – another element that you can add to this technique is light. You can do this with virtually any light but the most common one is obviously the flash. Fire it during your long exposure and you’ll freeze part of the image while still getting movement behind and around it. Some cameras will allow you to do this using ‘night mode’.

You need a lot of practice in order to be able to capture a nice zoom effect and that’s what fun about photography. Enjoy and have some fun with your camera. Remember to practice and keep practicing


Other Articles you may like to read

Inspiring Zoom Effect Photographs

Manual Photography Cheat Sheet

Correctly focusing

Tips for Candid Photography

12 Tips for Stunning Portrait Photography

This blog is designed to provide photography tips and tricks and post processing tips

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