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Case Study: Dragging the shutter

I was lucky with this shot. It all happened within a second:


1/8 of a second, to be exact: ISO 2500; f5.6; 1/8 sec zoomed from 24mm

This is one of those key moments where you have to be aware of what’s happening around you. If I wasn’t, I would have missed the dancing finale. My assistant was keen too – on the left holding my flash and pointing it at the couple.

Zooming out while the shutter is open creates this kind of effect. Low shutter speeds allow the colorful light to seep onto the sensor.

For this technique to be successful, make sure your subject is in the dark and is not illuminated by the ambient lights. Use front curtain sync to be able to capture the moment. With rear sync it will be almost impossible.

In summary:

  1. Drag the shutter for interesting results.
  2. Train your assistant to always be aware of your intentions.
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