I've been going through a company's photographer photos and I could narrow down two styles I'd like to develop and use in my shots, but I cannot figure out how he managed to do it:

It looks like it's using the same principle light writing uses but (also as far as I can tell, he is using a wide-angle lens for most shots), how did he manage to get everything to "rotate" but the subject in the centre of the photo?


Help is very appreciated.

  • Hi Pato and welcome to Stack Exchange. This is a question and answer site, not a free-form discussion forum, so it really works best if you split separate questions in to actually separate questions. Thanks.
    – mattdm
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:03
  • Thanks mattdm, will do! (I don't know if I should be ashamed because of you telling me this but I am certainly not new to SE)
    – ppp
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:05
  • No problem. Also, I think we already have the first part of your question answered — does photo.stackexchange.com/questions/37621/… cover it?
    – mattdm
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:06
  • Please read the following link regarding "How do I get this effect" questions. meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3881/…
    – Michael C
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:06
  • @mattdm Yes it does!
    – ppp
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


Style 1 looks like it's taken with a flash, but exposed for about 1-2 seconds assuming no flash (well probably -2 EV). The flash is set to fire at the start (or end) of the exposure, and the photographer then rotates the camera (around the axis of the lens) over the ~1 second exposure time. A clear image comes from the flash exposing it, and anything especially bright gets smeared in a circle.

I'd suggest setting up your camera in Manual mode, 1 second shutter, and appropriate aperture + ISO to under-expose the scene. Then use your camera's auto flash metering to let it expose the subject clearly. You may want to start rotating the camera before you take the image, so it's rotating at a fairly constant pace through the entire shot. On some point-and-shoot cameras this could be achieved with the "night portrait" mode (flash + exposed for scene).

Style 2 looks just looks like a normal flash-lit photo taken in a fairly large room. Set your camera to Manual mode, about 4 EV below the correct exposure for the room, and let the flash auto metering light the subject appropriately.

In both cases they're likely using a diffused flash pointed directly at the subjects, and probably set to underexpose a little. Perhaps using RAW and recovering highlights a little too, as there seems to be only a little "shiny white forehead syndrome".

Finally, they've applied a little warming effect to Style 2 (and perhaps adjusted colours in the others, but the coloured room lighting might be doing that all on its own). You can do this by sliding the white-balance sliders a little towards yellow (and maybe slightly magenta) or adding some kind of standard effect/filter.

  • 2
    flash could be at the beginning or end, but Pato it might be worth checking out "rear curtain sync" for more on the subject
    – MikeW
    Jan 10, 2014 at 3:06
  • @MikeW Is 'rear curtain' the same as 'second curtain'? I'm sure I've read it as second curtain in a photography book before.
    – BBking
    Jan 10, 2014 at 5:04
  • @BBking sounds likely. It means firing when the second/rear curtain is about to close, rather than just after the first has opened. Jan 10, 2014 at 5:22
  • @BBking Yes, rear and second curtain are the same.
    – MikeW
    Jan 10, 2014 at 7:07
  • much obliged everyone!
    – ppp
    Jan 10, 2014 at 13:04

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