- Long exposure photography
Cameras are great tools for showing us a world we can’t see with the naked eye. A great example of this is long exposure photography.
The basic principle involves leaving the shutter open for longer, let’s say for 5 seconds. Any light hitting the sensor during those 5 seconds will be displayed in your final image. This could be fire, car lights, stars or anything that moves and emits or reflects light.
We’ll be covering three main principles of long exposure photography in this guide.
One of the most important parts of long exposure photography is planning your shot, especially if you are going to be shooting at night. There are several variables to consider.
After your camera, the most important item is a tripod. Keeping the camera perfectly still during long exposure photography is vital to getting sharp images. A tripod also allows you to keep the camera in the same place enabling you to potentially blend multiple images together when you edit your photos.
A cable or wireless shutter release is also a great bit of kit to have. This allows you to press the shutter of your camera without touching it. Even the vibration of your finger activating the shutter button is enough to upset the stability of the camera and cause a loss of sharpness in your shot. They’re really cheap and very easy to use.
If you don’t have a tripod and you see a long exposure opportunity, there are still ways to get the shot. You could use a jumper or jacket to act as a cushion and stabiliser for your camera. This is obviously not perfect, but in a pinch it will do the trick.
So, you’ve found your location and made sure it’s suitable. You’ve got your tripod set up and your composition is framed. Now what?
Firstly, your camera settings have a huge amount of variables in this situation. There are some good tips below to quickly get close to the ideal settings which you can fine tune to get it perfect.
If you are planning on shooting long exposures during the day you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. This is a dark piece of glass that sits in front of the lens that allows the camera shutter to stay open for long enough to capture the motion without overexposing your image.
Example settings for long exposure:
Long exposure photography is a very rewarding and exciting type of photography. It can be a bit daunting at first but stick with it. Keep experimenting because the results will be well worth it.
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