The zoom burst effect traditionally involves changing the focal length of a zoom lens during a slowish (a second or two) exposure, and is a splendid way to add a dynamic twist to your shots.
The zoom burst technique lends itself perfectly to brightly coloured subjects such as flowers. However, this can be a problem if you want to get close to your subject with a macro lens.
Macro lenses don’t typically zoom, and so the only way to create a zoom burst effect is to physically move your camera away from the subject during an exposure.
Technically, this method is possible, but it’s likely to take a long time before you get anything worth using. So, we decided to make use of the digital darkroom, and added the effect using the Radial Blur filter in Photoshop.
This simple solution takes just a couple of minutes, and by doing it in processing (rather than via camera technique) you still have your original image should you change your mind at a later date.
Plus, adding the effect in Photoshop allows you to precisely control the intensity for ultimate creative effect.
01 Shoot the image
Use a plain coloured piece of cardboard as a simple background, select a colour that complements your subject. Set up near a north-facing window and use reflectors to create an even light.
02 Add a radial blur
To add the zoom burst effect, open your image in Photoshop and choose Filter>Blur> Radial Blur, check the Zoom option and enter an amount of 90%. Position the centre of the zoom using the preview pane.
03 Tweak colour
Positioning the exact centre of the zoom effect might take a couple of attempts. Once you’re happy, create a Color Balance adjustment layer and adjust the sliders to boost the vibrancy of the image.
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