How to Freeze and Blur Movement With Flash Photography

Flash can be an excellent tool to freeze motion, especially when you are working in the studio or do not have extreme amounts of available light for using ultra-fast shutter speeds. But you can get even more creative results by mixing the freezing power of a flash with a long exposure that captures motion, and this fantastic video tutorial will show you how it is done. 

Coming to you from Gavin Hoey with Adorama TV, this great video tutorial will show you how to use flash to freeze movement and then to extend the technique to blend frozen motion with movement, creating uniquely eye-catching images. This technique uses a mixture of a longer exposure with firing the flash at the end of the shot. This allows the camera to pick up the motion of your subject using ambient light, creating a blur that follows the trail of their motion. Then, the flash fires, freezing the subject at the last moment before the shutter closes. This results in a sharp subject with a trail of their own motion behind them, which can be a very unique and powerful effect. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Hoey. 

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5 Comments

El Dooderino's picture

Thanks for this article!

I just bought a flash, because I figured I should have one in my kit, but I have very little experience using one.

This will be most helpful!

Alex Cooke's picture

Have fun with it, Dude!!

El Dooderino's picture

I hope to!

I think that learning about, and experimenting with new things, makes photography fun!

Andrew Eaton's picture

One thing he didn't mention is the colour temperature of the constant light and the flash should match otherwise you will get horrible casts. This will be mostly a problem with tungsten bulbs

Nadine Wilmanns's picture

Love this video! Will have a photo shooting with a karate champion tomorrow and gonna try this... Just need to figure out what to use as my continuous backlight as I only have 1 strobe... But I know the karate studio where we`ll shoot has white walls so maybe this will help with a not so strong light... Ideas welcome;-)