Extreme camera shake

Earlier this week I covered a corporate party at the Barns on the Knebworth Estate. During the event I decided to use a method of photography that I’ve been playing with for a while which can really deliver a dynamic feel to a shoot, especially if the venue’s ambient lighting is particularly extravagant. By way of reference here’s a static tripod shot of the venue before the guests arrived. The pin lights in the ceiling are one of the things that give the subsequent image a neat little ‘twist’.


And here is a shot, completely in camera, of the event once it got going:


For the above image both the flash and camera were on manual. The idea is to have the shutter open, the flash fire and then a delay before the shutter closes again. During that post flash delay two things happen; firstly ambient light is allowed to hit the sensor, better exposing the background of the image and capturing more of the ambient light of the venue. Secondly it gives the photographer the opportunity to twist his camera around sharply about 90 degrees (not recommended with a flip top flash frame such as the Stroboframe).

For anyone interested in the numbers for the above image they were 1/4s at F/8 with the flash at 1/4 (-2/3ev), ISO 350. Nikon D300 with an SB800 speedlight. The timing of the human driven twisting element is not recorded in the EXIF data for some reason.

The burst of flash at the start of the shot has the effect of significantly freezing the subjects in the foreground while allowing the parts of the image registered in the ambient exposure (post flash) to blur.




This process is fraught with danger. Chimping the LCD display at 100% is recommended until you are comfortable with the shot setup.

Please leave a comment

  1. J Cannon Says:

    Great look. The lil stars look fantastic!! You have really taken advantage of the location and something I have not seen before!!(the twist bit)

  2. John Joannides Says:

    Hi James,

    Thanks for the comment! The twist is, I suppose, the twist. It’s a fun technique though I’m not sure how well it will do for less dramatic lighting venues. I’ll get the chance to find out soon hopefully.