13 Great Examples of Slow Sync Flash Images

13 Great Examples of Slow Sync Flash Images


This week I’d like to feature a series of images that all use a fun and striking technique called Slow Sync Flash. This technique combines a slower than normal shutter speed combined with a flash during the exposure.

Like the technique? Learn how to use Slow Sync Flash

Here’s the next 12 Slow Sync Flash Images:













Got some Slow Sync Flash Images that You want to Share? – Share them in comments below.

Learn how to use Slow Sync Flash

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • P-J March 21, 2012 09:16 pm

    Great shots!

    However I think the tile of "slow sync flash" is a slight misnomer?

    Most of the shots do use a slow sync speed & flash but not necessary combined in all of them.
    e.g. the water droplets is high speed multiflash?
    The firework spiral is there any flash used just slow sync?
    Cutting the apple rear shutter bilnd or muliti- flash exposure?

    Still not taking anything away from the results.

  • hansi trompka December 29, 2011 03:16 am


  • Brian! October 13, 2011 03:06 pm

    I'm an amateur photographer, just got my first dSLR at the beginning of the year. I'm a musician so I mostly enjoy shooting bands. Shooting big arena shows is a thrill, but I really love the gritty low-lit bar scene. It's more of a challenge and allows me to play around more. I absolutely LOVE slow-sync flash stuff, and my friend that's been my go-to guy from the start with all my questions shoot a LOT of it. The thing is, we shoot a lot of the same clubs in the same town, and he wont give up his "secrets" to slow sync flash shots. I understand the idea behind it, but I'm having trouble really nailing it down when i try. I'm shooting with a Nikon d3100 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.4G lens and an SB-600. I'm putting it in shutter priority and setting it down from anywhere to 1/10th to 1/60th and really not having any luck. I've got my flash mode on Rear, and my speedlight set to TTL and on the default settings. Anybody have any tips?? Oh, I'm using the built in diffuser on the SB-600 and have also tried using some 1-ply toilet paper as an alternative. I'm just not getting the wanted effect.. any help would be very much appreciated!!

  • Dewan Demmer June 28, 2011 04:45 pm

    recently discovered the slow sync flash and its great, I now have to get a lot more practice in and then perhaps I might have something worthy of these photos ...

  • Rinku 1rinku@gmail.com May 1, 2011 06:15 pm

    Thx..Gr8 tips. Just used it for vogue fashion shoot.great tip

  • Richard MacDonald March 22, 2011 06:16 am

    In the 4th image with the water droplets, how were the trails captured? I've seen this before and have not been able to duplicate it.

  • salman February 24, 2011 06:57 am


  • salman February 24, 2011 06:54 am

    any one say that how can i take this pics?

  • St Louis Wedding Photographer October 28, 2010 07:21 am

    To me, the image by Russel is the best image of the set. There is motion blur in the non-portrait portion of the picture, and the portrait is still crisp. Great example.

  • mark June 5, 2010 03:57 am

    great images! loved the chopping motion

  • dario May 8, 2010 06:06 am

    what a very nice shots, hope me too can do it..cheers

  • ROD B. FERMIN September 7, 2009 11:53 am

    pretty awesome photos....remind of the technique exclusively for sports...the movement/action shots. Nice for dance performances and parades with dancing,too!
    will apply what you've shared in my debut-dance events..they'll surely like this stuff!

  • Gloson August 31, 2009 08:17 pm

    Oops! I left out the links! Here they are:




  • Gloson August 31, 2009 08:15 pm

    Well, do you think this is a slow sync flash image?

    or this?

    Because for the first one, I moved my cheap digital camera to the direction of the moving taxi while capturing it. And for the second one, I just moved my camera rapidly while capturing the night scenery.

  • fotoveluwe August 28, 2009 05:00 pm

    my example :)

  • golfzilla August 28, 2009 11:43 am

    I shoot parties where a laser is driven by the music. I use a slow flash sync to get some fun pictures like:


  • john August 26, 2009 01:49 pm

    The first image of the apple being cut is actually quite clever in that, the effect "appears" to be stroboscopic (multiple flashes fired in succession within the same exposure time) but the photog actually "cheated". Using one flash and employing rear curtain sync, he/she achieved this effect by actually just stopping 4 times at different heights during the single exposure, with the single rear curtain synced flash, thus creating the illusion of multiple flashes. Brilliant execution.

  • HB July 3, 2009 04:11 pm

    Great shots! I never really knew when slow sync could be useful. Now I know; does anyone know when to use first curtain sync? It makes people look like they're moving backwards.

  • Ron April 10, 2009 01:54 am

    Slow Sync + slow shutter right? Really beautiful shots!

  • Crane March 8, 2009 11:11 am

    Russel's one (#12) is my favorite!!!

  • vivid1 January 22, 2009 01:22 am

    These photos are great and make me want to try this type of shot now. Thanks for sharing these tips and photos!

  • Tanya Ramayanti January 7, 2009 06:50 pm

    Great photos, i like the water drop much..., cool!

  • Pat January 5, 2009 08:26 pm

    Awesome photos, I feel inspired to have a play.

    PatB Photography

  • clarence January 3, 2009 07:33 pm

    i love the water drop

  • Kyle January 2, 2009 03:49 pm

    Those are fantastic! I always wanted to know how that kind of effect was created. Looks like I need to break out my SB-600 and get playing. Thanks again!

  • garrett January 2, 2009 02:34 pm

    how about posting some new stuff? all of this is just reposts of old stuff.

  • Tom January 2, 2009 10:05 am

    Here are my photos...i think they are on par with what is posted above

  • Fenris January 2, 2009 12:50 am

    My all time favorite use of the technique: http://grantgunderson.ifp3.com/

    Can't link directly to the pic because Gunder is still making the wicked big bucks off of it, but you are looking for the Alta Star Trail pic.

  • Shinil Payamal December 2, 2008 08:00 pm

    Some really amazing pics. Got a thumbs up on StumbleUpon and a Digg from me. :-)

    Best Wishes,

    @shinils on Twitter - http://twitter.com/shinils

  • Bored December 2, 2008 05:36 pm

    This is an awesome effect for band photography -- thanks.

  • Hoshiar Singh October 21, 2008 03:02 pm

    I like all great shots taken in slow sync mode.
    Actually many digicam have slow sync mode but
    generally people really don't know the use.
    More work can be done in this mode. Congratulation for great work.

  • digital photographer September 19, 2007 09:28 pm

    Great collection! I especiall like the photo with drops, the one with a monumenta and the one with a knife. And the musician is just hilarious!

  • Mike September 15, 2007 05:16 pm

    Just got a new Canon D30 and happened upon this link the same day. Here's what I managed to snap.


    Thanks DPS!

  • Steve September 15, 2007 12:24 pm

    I love the drummer shot and the knife through apple. definitely something to practice doing for the next few weeks. thanks guys!

  • Aaron September 14, 2007 11:24 am

    By the way, this technique is also commonly called "dragging the shutter," though I am not exactly sure why. So if you hear someone talking about "dragging the shutter," they are talking about leaving the shutter open for longer than necessary while using the flash.

    If you have a sufficiently featured SLR camera, you may also be able to select between "first curtain" or "second curtain" modes, which defines whether the flash fires just as the shutter has opened or just before it closes. This has the effect of placing your flash-lit subject at either end of their motion trail in the final image.


  • Phil Olsen September 14, 2007 10:00 am


  • Janna September 14, 2007 09:56 am

    Love these techniques!.......Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

  • ken September 14, 2007 08:21 am

    was going to put one on the back burner but the back was at the front,so i put it on the front one as the front was at the back. :)

  • G.Fawkes September 14, 2007 02:52 am

    Nice collection!
    I espacily like the one by aumbody images with the "flying" drops of water and I must agree with Dave that the girl captured by Russel is very beautiful :)

    These photos reminded me of another slow sync flash photo with a beautiful girl:

    Have a good day everyone :)

  • Jenny September 14, 2007 12:11 am

    That's very cool

  • alex September 13, 2007 05:57 pm

    http://picasaweb.google.com/black.horizons/Donegal2006 !

  • Dave September 13, 2007 12:29 pm

    Who is the girl in the photo "by Russell"

    good picture too.


  • Andrew Kendall September 13, 2007 10:05 am

    Oh the fun time we had with light painting: http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?blog=50&paged=3

  • Paul @ http://www.photographyvoter.com September 13, 2007 07:28 am

    Great stuff... love the one in Prague (think it's Prague??)

    Paul @ www.photographyvoter.com

  • Larry Eiss September 13, 2007 05:56 am

    The applie is cool alright, but the image of the world passing by and blowing the woman's hair by Russell is also great. Frankly, I liked them all.

  • AC September 13, 2007 05:29 am

    Cool stuff! The knife through the apple tops my list!

  • heather September 13, 2007 04:00 am

    Great images. That technique lends itself so well to action shots.

  • Paul September 13, 2007 02:53 am

    Some great shots. I think this is a really nice feature, gives people a chance to have their work seen by a lot of people and makes for a nice piece on a 'slow news day' (as it were)

  • Tanya September 13, 2007 02:15 am

    Great pictures!