How to Create the Zoom Blur Effect

October 25, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 11 Comments | |
How to Create the Zoom Blur Effect Image

4. Shutter priority mode

These photos that I took were in the middle of an over cast day, because there was quite a lot of light I had to do a few things to the camera first before I could take these style of photos.

Once I have put the ISO low to make the sensor less sensitive to light I then select the Shutter priority mode on my camera.

Now the beauty of shutter priority is that the shutter speed is the only other setting you need to worry about, as a rule of thumb I always put my camera at 1 second shutter speed then take a few test shots to see the effects. I then speed up or slow down to get the effects that I want. 

5. Let's go full manual

Some times it just pays to go full manual so lets get the basics setting set first.  Like shutter priority mode we want the ISO down low to 100 as a base point.  We will then put the shutter speed to 1 second as starting point as mentioned above and then position the aperture setting to the correct setting so the photo is correctly exposed which will probably be around the F20-F30 range if this is during an overcast day. Now we adjust the shutter speed until we get the blurred zoom effect that we like and tweak the aperture so we get perfect exposure.  A top tip is to always check your cameras light meter for the correct exposure.

How to Create the Zoom Blur Effect

6. Practice makes perfect

Like the old saying goes practice makes perfect and this is no exception to the rule.  By the time you take great photos with this blurred zoom effect your knowledge of how to set up and use your camera will help you greatly.  Remember that these guidelines and are just a approximate settings as there is a lot of trial and error to get these photos.

I have enclosed a cheat sheet that you can print and take with you while you are out taking these photos as a guide to help you achieve these photos. Please remember that this is a guide only and the settings will change depending on light levels, the camera and type of lens you are using. 

How to Create the Zoom Blur Effect


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zoom, technique, blur, effect, blurring, zoom blur, How to Create the Zoom Blur Effect, zooming

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#1 YouDidntDidYou

zoom blur tips:
1.shutter priority, low ISO
2. lens with good amount of zoom eg 14mm-140mm on mft
3. manual focus
4. get camera stabilised
5. choose portrait or landscape
6. figure where you want to stop zooming do this at the same time you are manual focusing
7. press shutter and review, can you usually get a good shot after 2-3 attempts

*** works well if there are additional light sources

5:30 pm - Friday, October 26, 2012

#2 ottawa wedding photographer

Great effect—and I’d add as an additional suggestion, employing a crop to obscure the fact that the subject (the part that will be less blurred) was composed centrally—ie. centre on the subject, do the blur; then compose so that the subject is in, say, the top right rule-of-thirds point.

5:52 pm - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#3 ottawa wedding photographer

(oops, I think I blew up my comment)
One additional tip might be to centre your subject, use this effect, then recompose to put that central subject off centre as a way to obscure a little how you achieved the effect.

5:55 pm - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#4 Tux Kenobi

During strong day light use a neutral density filter (ND) so your photo doesn’t come out all white.
If you don’t have one and are using a tripod, or have someone to help you, sunglasses can do it.

2:17 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#5 Peggy Paris

You have great talent, its just fantastic

8:40 am - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#6 Martha

Thank you for great post:) I think photography means knowledge and creativity. You can take excellent photo if you have knowledge about the technique and if you are creative. Zoom Blur Effect is one of the greatest effect if you use it right.If you want to take breathtaking photographs and amaze people with your skills, you need to learn and practice a lot. I learned almost everything to skip the amateur photographer stage with this website. You should take a look at the great information.;/photography-tricks-and-techniques-learn-advanced-photography.html

12:12 pm - Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#7 MakingPhoto

The only problem with this effect is that to get the best yields, try to place your subject in the center of the photo.

7:58 am - Saturday, May 24, 2014

#8 Roger M. Lloyd

Thanks for the nice post. I learn new things by your post. I can’t Zoom Blur before but by your post I can now. Thanks a lot…

11:45 am - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#9 Clipping Path

Very very informative post .I like it most and thanks to you for sharing this kind of post.

3:34 pm - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#10 Suresh Kumar

I recommend you experiment with the zoom, farthest to nearest and backwards, can even stop a split second at any time while you change the size of the plane and see what results you get. You can also start turning the zoom ring very quickly and then slowly go get slowing it down to see what affect; simply, experience and stay with the results that you like.

7:30 am - Friday, April 1, 2016

#11 candid wedding photographer-Raman

What a lovely wedding! Always nice to hear how people met!

12:43 pm - Thursday, August 4, 2016