Joe McNally is known for being one of the best photographers worldwide. In this video from AdoramaTV, he is going to teach you how to create a matrix-styled effect by physically zooming the lens and using a slow shutter speed. Because he doesn’t want his subject to be blurry he uses a flash. Watch the video to see how he does it.


Usually, you want to keep your camera and your lens as steady as possible to avoid motion blur caused by camera shake. You can use selective motion blur for some creative effects, though.

Here are a few tips for achieving the described effect:

#1: Put Your Camera in Manual Mode and Set It to a Slow Shutter Speed

You have to put your camera into manual mode because the camera usually keeps the shutter speed from getting too slow. Try starting with something like 1/6 or 1/8. Of course, this will vary in different lighting conditions. Also set your flash sync at rear curtain. This way the flash fires at the end of the exposure.

#2 Prepare Your Flash

Because you don’t want your subject to be blurry, you’ll need to use a flash. The flash pops for such a short time that the exposure time doesn’t really matter. The brightness of the flash will be the same regardless of wether your exposure time is 1/200 or 1/8. (This only applies if you don’t get faster than your sync speed). As you shoot, try to keep the light from spilling on your backdrop by using a gobo or a grid.

#3 Shoot!

After you set up your camera and your flash, you’re ready to shoot. Try taking a photo while zooming the lens, you can experiment with going from wide to tele or the other way around. The background that isn’t lit by the flash is going to be blurry due to the zooming motion. The subject will stay sharp because the flash beam is really really quick.

What do you think about that technique? Do you have other tips on how to shoot images like this?

[via AdoramaTV/images via screencaps]