Easy Photo Tip: Add Drama and Emphasis by Zooming During Exposure

The challenge: draw attention to one face in a crowd. Here’s a dramatic solution: zoom during exposure. The shot above was taken with a Canon 5D Mk II and Canon 24-105mm L zoom, handheld, at 1/50 of a second. The auditorium scene was lighted by overhead mercury vapor lamps.

Conventional wisdom might suggest that you use a tripod and a very long shutter speed, but as you can see from these results, neither is necessary! In fact, both will give you fits in this type of fast-moving situation. The trick is to keep your camera centered on the subject and use a firm, smooth motion to zoom the lens.

BTW, old “one touch” zooms like the classic Nikon 80-200 that feature one large ring for both focusing and zooming work great for this creative effect. You Micro Four Thirds users can adapt one of these old style lenses and have a blast.

BTW #2, this effect is especially powerful when photographing holiday lights and illuminated Christmas trees. We’ll revisit this Easy Photo Tip after Thanksgiving and show you what we mean.

If you enjoy these tips, check out the rest of my blog or scroll to the bottom the Shutterbug homepage and look for my name. Thanks.

                                                                                                              —Jon Sienkiewicz