Let The Light In
What Is Long Exposure Photography
Long exposure photography has become a very popular genre recently and it seems like everyone wants to know how it is done. You can use this technique to create stunning images by allowing extra light into the camera. This can be ideal for night landscapes, milky water effects, light trails and much more.
What you’ll need:
- Your camera
- Cable release (or self-timer)
How To: Long Exposure Photography
Think about what you would like to photograph. Do you want to capture the stars on a clear night? Maybe you want to snap a picture of a nearby river and have that tranquil look of ‘milky’ water. These pictures have one thing in common, and achieving this technique is simple and can be so much fun. They all involve long exposure photography. So, how do you do it?
First, position yourself where you would like to take your picture. Set up your tripod, and make sure it’s secure. The last thing you want is having your camera move while the shutter is open.
Once you have set up your tripod and camera, focus on the area that you want to capture. I would recommend having a high depth of field to allow the whole image to be focused. The image below has an aperture set on a higher aperture to ensure the rest of the image is focused as well. Try setting your aperture to f/9 or even f/20.
Once you’ve focused on your subject, think about how long you will need to set your shutter speed. This will depend greatly on the time of day and the subject. If you are shooting at night to capture the stars, you will need to have a longer shutter speed compared to moving water. This is because you will need to allow a lot of light to enter into the lens. The photo above, for example, has a shutter speed of just 1/5th of a second. The image below however, has a shutter speed of 30 seconds, to allow the stars to show up in the image.
But what if it is daytime and the pictures are over exposed? A great way to overcome this is to set the aperture higher. The higher the aperture is set, the less the shutter will open. This will then allow less light to enter the shutter:
Figuring out the aperture and shutter speed can take time and is generally realised with practice. The more you experiment with long exposure photography, the easier it will become.
Photography Cheat Sheet
When you are ready to take the photo, remember that even the slightest movement can blur your photo. Even pressing the shutter release button can cause slight movement. If you have one, use a cable release. If you don’t have a cable release, you can get around this by setting the self-timer of your camera.
Examples of Long Exposure Photography:
There are so many different types of long exposure photography that you can try. Check out some of the examples below. The list doesn’t end here though, get out there and be creative with your camera.
Exposure: 20 seconds
Exposure: 30 seconds
Exposure: 1.3 seconds
Exposure: 13 seconds
Exposure: 7 seconds
So, what are you waiting for?! Go out and give it a go, and experiment with different exposure times. Keep all of your images too, so you can look back on them and see how you’ve improved.
I would love to see how you did, post your shots here or on the pRIOnts Facebook page, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.