Flash Photography: How to Freeze & Blur Motion in a Studio

Beginner photographers may use flash simply as a tool to add and control lighting in a scene. Many aren’t aware of the fact that you can also control the amount of motion in the image with the help of a flash. Whether you’re looking to perfectly freeze the motion or you want to retain some level of blur, you can easily do either with flash. In today’s video, photographer Gavin Hoey with Adorama shows you how conveniently you can freeze and blur movement in your photography with flash:

Hoey starts off with the easy bit. He shows you how you can perfectly freeze your subject without having to use a very fast shutter speed. First, set the camera to its flash sync speed and ensure that no ambient light is entering the camera. Then, when you take an image with the flash set to a low power setting, you’ll notice that any sort of motion gets frozen. It’s that simple.

“It’s a very short period of time that the flash fires and that’s what’s freezing the motion. The flash lasts for a short period of time and that’s what freezes movement.”

A perfectly frozen image is not always interesting. You can make it more dynamic by adding some motion. As Hoey demonstrates in the video, you can easily do so by mixing flash with a continuous light source. It could be either the ambient light, a modeling light, or even a video light. And take control over the amount of movement in your images simply by altering your camera’s shutter speed. Also, feel free to experiment with how switching between front curtain sync and rear curtain sync affects your photos.

These helpful tips open up a new window of opportunity for creative portraits. Be sure to try them out.

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