One of my favorite categories in photography is long exposure photography. What is long exposure?
Long exposure or slow-shutter photography is a technique that produces stunning effects and dramatic moods. Even when you shoot at night, you’ll still be able to create detailed photos with beautiful light effects. Works best in landscape photography, can be used to create beautiful light trails and blur the water surfaces.
It takes a bit of practice, but by following this guide you will see how easy it is to get a good result from your first attempt (or almost).😊
1. Study the Weather
Days before the shoot, get all the information you can about the weather. Find ways to monitor the weather, especially if it has been raining for days or if it’s the rainy season. Do not schedule a shoot when the sky is cloudless or when the rains are pouring heavily. But pay attention to the weather forecast because conditions can change in a matter of minutes or hours. Long exposures are easiest to achieve in low light, or just as the sun is setting. If you're just learning to do long-exposure photography, practice during golden hour and right before sunset, and select your location accordingly. You can use various apps to do that.
2. Visit Location
Do a location inspection several days before the shoot – study and familiarize it. As you need a lot of time to find the perfect composition or at least more than the time needed for a “short exposure”.Try not to put the sun into the composition because its movement will ruin the shot and it will create an area of overexposure that is not recoverable. If you cannot avoid the sun, wait for it to hide behind a cloud.
3. Avoid Vibration
Make sure that your camera and tripod are on a steady, balanced surface. In addition to the tripod, it's a good idea to have a remote shutter so you don't have to manually press the shutter. Pressing the shutter can cause some vibration. You can prevent vibrations from appearing in photos by using the shutter delay (at least 2 seconds), but using the remote control is still the most practical option.
4. Compose you Image
Find your perfect composition, it may take some time. When you are comfortable with your composition, focus on the subject, and lock the focus. It is recommended to use manual focus. If you are using autofocus mode, you should focus half by pressing the shutter button, and when the focus is focused while holding the shutter button halfway down, press the lever with manual focus. This will keep your camera focused.
5. Set The Settings In The Camera
Now set your camera to Manual (M) mode or Aperture Priority (A/Av) mode. Then set the aperture to an appropriate value for the scene (for landscapes I suggest between f/8 and f/11) and your ISO at 100, check the histogram for exact shutter speed, and take a “Test Shot”.Set the shooting mode to Bulb (B) in order to take over the thirty second limit of the camera. Do not change any of the other settings (ISO and aperture) used in the test shot. The test is complete when you get correct exposure. Once the test shot is successful, write down the shutter speed you used for that shot.
6. Adding Filters
If you would like to do long exposure in a day time, no problem, for that we use Neutral Density (ND) filter. Just add a filter to the camera, but since the filter is very strong, like 10 stops, you won't be able to see it through the viewfinder or Live View. That's perfectly okay since the camera sees everything for you.
7. Fun Part
And we are finally ready to take our long exposure shot. We have our perfect settings, Aperture F/8, F/11, ISO 100, and our shutter speed (from 2 to 30 s) or use the shooting mode to Bulb (B). Using remote shutter take the picture, check the histogram again, adjust shutter speed if necessary but leave the other settings as they are. And enjoy your masterpiece.
As in everything else, you can master long exposure photography if you practice. So, practice, practice, and practice. And keep shooting beautiful images! Thanks for reading the article I hope you liked it, and we’ll read on in the next one.😅😅