Long exposure is one of the most intriguing shooting methods. It captures the ferocious beauty of a waterfall, the serene nature of a calm ocean, or the glittery excitement of a nightlife scene. Finding the ideal long exposure shot isn’t only about the perfect scene. Great images require time so understanding your camera settings before heading out is a key piece of the process. Here are 5 pieces of advice you can use for your long exposure photography.
5 Insights About Long Exposure Photography
1. Don’t Forget the Tripod
Long exposure photography requires time. Save your arm muscles and purchase a tripod. It allows the camera to remain steady while the shutter is open. The tripod doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make sure it’s large enough to hold your camera without toppling over, but small enough to carry. If you really want to eliminate any chance of shakiness, use the self-timer or a cable release.
2. Your Filter is Important
Filter adjustment depends on the time of the day. Unless you’re shooting in the middle of the day when conditions are brightest, you may not get enough light for the autofocus to work. We recommend focusing your shot, switching to manual focus, and carefully attaching the filter. But, if you’re trying to work mid-day, you may find you’re getting too much light. A neutral density filter will help block out light.
3. Increase Your Shutter Speed
One of the main attractions of long photography is its ability to capture the surreal quality of a landscape. Try experimenting with longer shutter speeds than normal to enhance that effect. Moving objects will become more blurry and less natural, giving your photo an otherworldly appeal.
4. Take Pictures at Night
Of course it’s been done before, but there’s a reason these shots appeal to people. Long photography showcases light as we can never see it with our own eyes. The shutter speed and long exposure blurs the light, leaving snaking trails. This picture of a curvy road is an ideal example of long photography at night.
5. How to Combat Noise
One of the key factors when taking a long photograph is using a long exposure, but even with a low ISO, noise can develop. Although it may not be visible on your camera screen, you’ll see it once your photo is transferred to your computer. To prevent the pixilation, take a picture with the same exposure and ISO setting, but leave the lens cap on. This will generate an image that, during the editing process, can be used as filler for the visible pixels. Since it’s an all-black image with the same pixel placement, it erases the noise.
Although long photography requires time to perfect, the images are well worth the wait.
Have you come across any examples of long photography while photo scanning? What was your favorite?
Photo Credit: Flickr