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Photography Zoom Effect

Zoom effect is used in photography to add drama or tension to an image. When zoomed; the subject appears to be either moving towards or away from you.

Photography Zoom Effect
Photo By Maistora

The zoom effect is also known as Racking the Lens technique and is a fairly simple process of zooming the lens in the middle of an exposure. In order to be able to zoom the exposure times used will be longer, often a few seconds.

Although it sounds simple it actually takes some practice to master this technique. As the co-ordination between the clicking and zooming is a bit hard to master and could be perfected only with practice.

Photography Zoom Effect
Photo By Anitakhart

Photography Gear for Zoom Effect

To successfully create great zoom shots you will need a DSLR, a sturdy Tripod and a Zoom Lens.

Photography Zoom Technique

  1. Mount your camera on a tripod
  2. Set it to Shutter Priority (TV) mode and dial in a slow shutter speed.
  3. Compose your shot
  4. Focus on your subject
  5. Release the shutter and Zoom your lens

The most important factors that affect the outcome of a zoomed shot are;

  1. Intensity of Available Light in the scene
  2. Type of lens used – Focal Length and Zoom Factor.
  3. Amount of movement – either of camera or subject

Tips to get better results with Zooming

It is to be noted that once you press the shutter, the mirror goes up and you will not see anything through the cameras viewfinder.

It is easier to achieve good results with zooming effect if you keep your subject centered in your frame.

We will actually need more time than we think we do to be able to zoom during exposure. So we are talking about exposure times in the range of a second or more. In bright light conditions it would not be possible to achieve such slow shutterspeeds even with the lowest ISO settings and smallest apertures. So either make use of ND filters to cut down the amount of available light or choose a low light scene that permits slow shutter speeds.

Photography Zoom Effect
Photo By Leigheast

The zooming process should be fluid or smooth to obtain nice, smooth motion lines. Take special care to keep it at constant pace i.e. do not speed up or slow down at any point while zooming.

Zooming in at your subject and Zooming out of your subject produces very different results. So experiment with both and select the effect that better suits your subject or scene.

How fast or slow you do the zooming will also affect your final result. Images shot while zooming fast will have weaker trails while images shot with slow zooming will have much stronger trails and patterns.

During zooming, if at any point you either pause or slow down, then that area will be more strongly exposed in your shot. So generally photographers try to give more time at the beginning and end of their exposures.

Photography Zoom Effect
Photo By Chavals

You could also try panning or changing the orientation of your camera from landscape to portrait or vice versa in combination with zooming. But remember not the shake or change camera position while doing this as it will render your images blurry.

Light sources that are near and far could produce really spectacular effects when zoomed. You could also experiment by firing your flash in mid exposure so that some of your frame is in sharp focus while movement is registered all around it.

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