The long exposure photography is a great technique which will help you take some great photos during busy night time city streets, waves “crashing” onto rocky shores and more. The good thing is that using this kind of technique will not require an expensive kit or hours of training to get you started.
By using the guide below, you will learn and understand everything you need to know about this technique.
Minimum Kit required for taking long exposure photos
– A camera that allows you to manually control it, to change the aperture, iSO speed and shutter speed.
– A sturdy tripod.
Extra useful things that you can use
– A remote shutter which will allow you to take a photo without even touching the camera, which helps by reducing the blur.
HINT: In case you don’t have one, we suggest you to set the self timer to 2 seconds on the camera, and you will most likely have the same results
– In case you want to take long exposures in the middle of the day, you will need neutral density filter such as Lee Filters or Big Stopper. These will act like sunglasses for lens and it will reduce the amount of light that will come into the camera, allowing you the expose a photo for over a minute and it won’t look washed out or completely white.
Finding the location where you want to take photos
Long exposure photos are able to combine both static and moving objects, so think about where you can combine both of them in order to take a great photo. You can look for some moving clouds over some buildings. So, head to a town, get close to many buildings and point your camera upwards.
You can also look for city streets during the night, as they are great locations to make experiments with. By using a slow shutter speed, the car headlights will turn into some long lights lines, twisting through the streets. Make sure that you are in a safe place, away from traffic, and see what photos you can take.
Setting up your shooting equipment
First of all, make sure that your tripod is stable. At the same time, you will need to make sure that it will not be knocked down by someone who will pass by you. Also, you will need to make it on a surface that it will not vibrate or shake because of the traffic or wind.
We remind you that even a slightest wobble while taking an exposure photo will most likely result in a very blurry shot. If it’s too windy, make sure that your camera will not tremble, by positioning yourself in front of the wind to reduce the amount of wind passing through your camera.
After that, you will need to frame your shot and set the lens to manual focus. There are a lot of cameras that will allow you to zoom into the scene by using the LCD display. In case you are using dark neutral density filters, you can put them in place after you’ve setup the scene.
Choosing the right settings
The main settings that you will change to take long exposures photos are the ones related to the shutter speed. When the shutter speed is slow, the sensor will be exposed to the light longer, which means that more movement will be captured. You will need to take photos after photos until you will know what shutter speed you need to select in order to take the photos that you want.
Keep in mind that this will also depend on how fast the subjects are travelling and how much ambient light is in that place.
Processing your photos
You should always make sure that your shot is properly exposed and composed in the camera, because editing photos will not be able to fix a badly composed one. Try editing a photo that you’ve took by playing with the contrast, cross processing and color balance sliders. Keep in mind that this will most likely take some time until you will understand how to perfectly edit a photo in order to make it look awesome, professional.
As you can see, it is not so hard to understand how you can take some awesome exposure photos. However, in order to make them perfect, you will be required to take a lot of photos and to understand all camera’s settings. But, if you are a beginner, we suggest you to use the tips we’ve told you in this guide and we’re pretty sure that you will be able to take some awesome photos that you will be proud of.
Are you new to photography? Do you like taking long exposure photos during the night, in a crowded city?