A photography technique known as long exposure yields stunning photos with an unearthly appearance. Long-exposure photography enables us to capture any movement’s trace, no matter how fast or how far this might travel.
Did you guys know that the long-exposure photography method is also incredibly flexible? It will assist you in taking the wonderful mystical pictures you’ve always dreamed of, from amazing daylight long-exposure images to gorgeous long-exposure night skies.
Long-exposure photography is trendy in many different types of photography, including street, landscape, abstract, and culture photography. Although it is more prevalent in particular areas of photography, there are several possibilities for the method.
Long-exposure methods might appear difficult, but they are not. With only a tiny quantity of knowledge, you may begin producing amazing outcomes.
Are you having trouble taking stunning long-exposure pictures? Do you wish to master long exposure methods and capture pictures of a professional caliber? I’m going to lead you through an easy, step-by-step procedure for long-exposure photography in this tutorial. Once you’re finished, you’ll be able to see how simple it is to capture good photos on your initial try, and will be fully prepared the next moment you have a golden chance.
Let’s get started!
Long Exposure Photography: What Is It?
Other names for long-exposure photography are slow-shutter or time-exposure. The method has its origins in the early days of shooting when primitive equipment required photographers to leave an image exposed for an amount of time in order to capture any picture on tape.
Having similar approach, which depends on leaving the shutter open for a lengthy moment, is used in contemporary long-exposure photography. The resulting photographs show stationary objects in a clear perspective while taking initiatives that seem blurry thanks to advancements in camera technology.
Shutter Speed: What Is It?
The amount of time the shutter is open on a camera is known as the shutter speed. To capture clear handheld shots, photographers frequently employ quick shutter speeds.
Of course, a higher shutter speed is needed for a long exposure to record the action. More light can enter the camera and contact the detectors at slower shutter rates. While trying this method, you must be well-versed in your camera’s settings since long exposure photography necessitates a slow shutter speed.
Shutter speeds that have high denominators, like 1/1000, are exceedingly quick. A slower shutter speed is indicated by a shorter length, like 1/10.
Important Tools for Long-Exposure Photography
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for what the right equipment and lens might be for long-exposure photography. To choose the ideal lens for long-exposure photography, there are several things to consider.
We’ll examine a few of the top choices for long-exposure photography in this tutorial.
A tripod is a critical component of gear. It not only gives your camera a firm foundation, but it also enables long exposures, which are beneficial for photographing cloud or water content.
A tripod can be big, weighty, and slow to set up, which is why many people dislike carrying them. A street photographer, for instance, is unlikely to utilize a tripod since he wants to “record the event” as it happens in a fraction of a second.
However, preparing the shot and preparing for the optimum light are the main components of landscape photography; quickness is not necessary.
The purpose of a tripod is to hold your camera rock still while you prepare your camera and lenses for your picture, as well as to reduce undesirable motion blur while photographing in low-light circumstances (nighttime landscapes, golden and blue hours) or even when shooting for HDR, panoramas, long exposures, and other sorts of landscape photographs.
This is why a solid tripod has always been a crucial instrument in the toolkit of a landscape photographer.
2. Utilize a Mirrorless or DSLR Camera
Using a digital camera with a normal mode and a flash mode is crucial when it comes to purchasing the appropriate equipment for exposure photography. To get efficient in performing long-exposure photos, you must be capable of manually modifying the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture on the camera.
Think about buying a compact camera or a DSLR camera if you plan on taking a lot of pictures, especially long-exposure pictures. A good camera with a basic and flash mode makes for an excellent long-exposure camera, yet you do not need to spend the most money on one.
Look for a remote shutter button on the camera you’re considering purchasing so you can open the shutter remotely. Consider purchasing a long shutter extension if your DSLR doesn’t already have one to make taking long exposure photos smoother.
Before sunrise or after sunset, you will be wandering around in the dark. Always keep a backup source of light close by.
It will save you from sliding down cliffs while photographing the ocean, or it will assist you in finding all of your camera gear in your carrying case.
4. ND Filters
The quantity of light that reaches the camera sensor is decreased using a Neutral Density (ND) filter. Long exposure without filters is only possible in certain settings. ND filters are also another popular tool to aid in mastering the long exposure skill.
A dark filter known as an ND filter can be attached to your lens to cut down on the quantity of light that reaches the shutter. An ND filter is not necessary when photographing at night. In the dim light, the shutter speed is already sluggish.
The darkness of ND filters also varies. There are three different levels of darkness:
- 2 stops
- 6 stops
- 10 stops
These values indicate how black the filter is and how much extra exposure time is required. Filters with a 6 or 10-stop rating are most frequently utilized. The shutter speed extension is best for these.
Before fitting an ND filter on your lens, don’t forget to lock your camera. Using auto mode is one strategy you might try. The focus will remain fixed when you hit the shutter release if you go to manual control.
It’s crucial to keep in mind to move to manual focus before applying a filter. The manual focus setting allows you to manage the camera and prevents it from autofocusing (AF). The filter is ineffective if the camera attempts to autofocus. No focus will be possible for the camera.
You might have to pay for the lights that you need! So, don’t forget to set the focus to manual before attaching the filter. Before applying a filter, take a few test photos to ensure that the picture is sharp.
Long-exposure photography doesn’t require the greatest filter. A 1 or 2-stop filter will let in too much light, it should be noted. You ensure your purchase will function, and make sure to keep a record of what you purchase.
5. Spare Batteries
You will very certainly find yourself in isolated areas. It is more beneficial to carry multiple extra batteries. Additionally, bear in mind that the cold shortens battery performance.
I usually carry a minimum of two batteries with me when I go out to photograph, in addition to a completely charged battery for the camera.
6. Cleaning Cloths
I have a huge number of these. In every zip and pocket of my backpack and luggage. Going back home only to discover that a few water droplets have damaged all of your pictures is the worst possible scenario.
It’s important to keep your lenses and filters clean at all times to prevent having to throw away a perfectly planned photo. When working outside, it is fairly simple to get your lenses dirty.
This is also exceedingly difficult, if not difficult, to rectify in post-production.
These filters appear to be the ones that generate the most inquiries regarding their potential purposes out of all the many types available on the market.
These are fantastic for controlling reflections from glass and water objects and improving outcomes with the sky and clouds in your picture. I employ Breakthrough Photography’s Dark Circular Polarizing (CPL) filters. They mix a standard CPL filter with Neutral Density (ND) filters, which exist in stops 1, 3, and 6. This gives you a filter that is essentially two filters in one.
This is quite helpful since with some wide-angle lenses, like the ZEISS Vario-Tessar T* 4/16-35mm that I use, the more filters you stack, the more vignetting you’ll observe because the borders of the filters start to reveal at the widest focal length. You can take photos at your lens’s widest focal length by avoiding the need to stack multiple filters.
One important thing to bear in mind is that the CPL reduces the amount of light entering the lens.
8. GND Filters
An example of a neutral density filter used during landscape photography is the GND filter. The term “graduated” refers to an optical component that typically has a rectangular shape and is made of optical resin or glass with a gradient alternating between dark and light.
The deeper portion of the filter shouldn’t give a picture a color tint. Based on this, experts describe the filters as “neutral” in terms of color gradation.
Why not simply refer to them as graduated filters? Graduated filters come across a variety of colors, which explains the situation. Sunset filters, which have an orange or red tint, serve as an illustration.
GND filters are made to permit various illumination transmissions during exposure. The gradient assists you in controlling the quantity of light in the environment by lowering the amount that hits the sensor in the gradient-darkened zone.
Less light will pass through that part of the filter as the gradient becomes darker. When there is a high dynamic range, the goal is to avoid overexposing any portion of the picture.
The darker portion of the GND filter essentially enables you to lower the dynamic range in the picture so that your DSLR can accurately expose the range of tones from highlights to shadows within the scene.
GND filters can thus boost contrast in regions where the darkened section is located, like clouds in the sky. They can boost color and clarity by increasing the contrast between light and dark areas.
See Also –12 Best Landscape Photography Cameras
How Can Long Exposure Photos Be Taken?
1. The Appropriate Light
A broad range of photographic techniques is used in long-exposure photography. In most situations, you can snap photographs all day long. Be mindful that you must account for shadows and highlights.
Is there a specific time of day that offers the optimum lighting for taking photos?
The best period of daylight is in the morning hours. Although it makes it simpler to observe your object, there needs to be light there to get those striking pictures. You have the option of using or not using an ND filter.
Set your aperture to f/16 if you plan to use a filter. Depending on your subject, you will need to choose a shutter speed. A 2-3 second exposure is ideal if you’re photographing a river and want the water to be blurry.
You must adjust your camera’s aperture to its smallest setting if it is a sunny morning and you are not using a filter. The picture can be too dark because of this potential light reduction. Depending on whether or not, you will need to modify your camera’s configurations.
Low Light Conditions
The finest low light times are in the evening or at sunset. Astonishing photographs are created by natural lighting and occasionally overcast weather. Shadow-aware camera settings are the key to taking good low-light images. The shadows in the evening make long-exposure images appear hazy. You must boost the ISO and widen the aperture.
Make sure your camera is steady. The image will be noticeably fuzzy if there is any unwelcome trembling. Think about shooting toward the direction of your light source. Some of the most dynamic shots have been captured in low-light situations. Long exposure softens the rolling clouds and exploding ocean waves!
2. Discover Your Subject
As you now see, it is not suggested that you take a long exposure photograph of a flawless static subject. No motion blur effect will be present in your picture if there is no movement.
The long exposure method is ideal for use due to the numerous changes in the environment. But remember, not everything in your arrangement needs to be moving. The only thing you will see in that case is an extremely blurry picture. Your picture must include static objects like standing humans or trees.
The illusion of motion will be triggered by the contrast between moving and immobile items. Choosing your perfect topic is exciting and is similar to a treasure hunt.
3. Check The Weather
It’s wonderful to get a prediction of the sky’s appearance. An overcast sky will provide depth and drama to your long-exposure photograph, which might be a terrific touch.
Additionally, clouds migrate It’s important to consider weatherproofing your camera.
Here are some suggestions:
- Use a raincoat—your camera isn’t water-resistant. To defend against severe rain, spend money on a rain cover. It is also useful while photographing a waterfall.
- Use an umbrella—it may not be as convenient, but it does the work of shielding your gear.
- Switching lenses while it is raining is not advised. The lens might become dirty, and rain can enter the sensor. This will only lead to disaster.
4. Camera Settings for Long Exposure Photography
Once you’ve arranged and prepared and are on-site at your destination, examine your settings. Are your camera settings correct based on the light, shadows, and time of day? This is a crucial action.
To ensure your camera is ready to use, it does help to take a few test pictures.
5. Snap Your Picture
Are you prepared to begin snapping images with a long exposure? Think about everything we covered in this tutorial before you leave.
You can expand your skills and experience by applying everything described in this tutorial. If you enjoy it and wish to learn, you don’t need to be the best-skilled photographer.
Choose your topic, scout the area, pack the appropriate gear and position your camera. Try out various perspectives, environments, and subjects; you might be shocked by what you discover!