Rear curtain sync: create light streak photography with second curtain sync

rear curtain sync
(Image credit: Future)

You can get great shots by combining flash with a long exposure. Usually all you need to do is set your camera to slow sync mode and start shooting; your subject is sharply lit, but you also get ghostly movement blur and trails of light from moving light sources.

However, there’s a problem; in regular slow sync mode the flash fires at the start of the exposure, and then the shutter stays open to record the ambient light and movement blur. If your subject is clearly heading in a specific direction, the effect looks wrong because the blur is traveling ahead of your subject instead of behind it. 

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at