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Creating the Zoom Burst Photography Effect in Photoshop

Zooming in or out during an exposure is a popular technique to add interest to your shots. We have an earlier post in this blog explaining how it is done and some tips on getting it right. You can read it here:- Photography Zoom Effect.

For Still subjects zooming technique is easy to master and one can get good results with some practice. However for subjects in motion it is an entirely different ball game, it is an advanced technique which requires much practice to get it right. But why take the trouble if you could create the same effect in Photoshop in a matter of minutes. In this article we will discuss how to add zoom burst effect to your photographs in Photoshop.

Before we begin let us be clear on one thing. The success of the final image depends a great deal on the raw image you work with. In photography composition we always take care to place our subjects off center. But zoom burst effect works best with images in which the main subject is placed in dead center.

Here's our final result.

Creating the Zoom Burst Photography Effect in Photoshop
Creating the Zoom Burst Photography Effect in Photoshop

This is our original image

zoom burst effect
Photo by: Pete Markham

 Step 1. 

Open the image in Photoshop

Step 2.

Duplicate the background layer

Step 3.

With the top layer selected, press Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Select - Zoom, Quality - Best and set amount to 50. 50 is what we used in this image, the amount of blur that works best will vary with different shots so trial and error is the best option.

Zoom Burst Effect in Photography
Zoom Burst Effect in Photography

Step 4.

Add a layer mask to the top layer, Select brush and set foreground color to black, now paint over areas which you wish to be sharp, if you wish to fine tune, no problem, select white and paint over to reveal the top layer.

Photography Zoom Burst Effect
Photography Zoom Burst Effect

Here's the image with the main subject rendered sharp and rest of the scene blurred. If you look at the screen shot given above you can see the areas affected by the layer mask.

Zoom Burst Effect in Photoshop
Zoom Burst Effect in Photoshop

One we have achieved the final result its time to add some contrast, increase some saturation etc. the final result is the image on top of this article. Have fun.

Related Reading

  1. Applying Dark Vignette Effect to a Photo in Photoshop
  2. Creating Soft Focus Lens Effect in Photoshop
  3. How to apply Smooth Skin Effect To Your Picture in Photoshop
  4. How to Apply Eye Shadow, Eyeliner and Mascara to Your Photo in Photoshop
  5. How to Change Eye Colour in Photoshop

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