Lengthy Exposure Photography: A Step-by-Step Guide

Long Exposure Digital photography: A Step-by-Step Guide

long exposure photography: a step-by-step guide

Are you struggling to capture beautiful long publicity photography? Do you want to learn the lengthy exposure basics – and also take some pro-level pictures?

Long publicity techniques may seem difficult, yet they’re really not. With a little bit of know-how, you can start getting stunning results…

…and that’s what this informative article is all about. I’m going to provide you with a simple, step-by-step process for the purpose of long exposure images. When you’re done, you’ll see how easy it is to get satisfying shots on your first try, and you’ll know exactly what to do the next time you’re faced with a great opportunity.

Let’s dive right in.

long exposure rocks in the water

The first step : Study the weather

Long exposure photography may rise and fall depending on the weather. If you look at the lengthy exposure shots throughout this short article, you’ll notice that I make extensive use of clouds to create intense, eye-catching skies.

Therefore , partly over cast skies are often best for lengthy exposure photography, though you can also work with mostly cloudy or maybe moody, overcast horizons. Washboard white skies (i. e., clouds with no texture) are best avoided – in general, the long exposure effect is going to be lost on these scenes, and you’ll end up with the drab shot.

Most important of all, a day using a cloudless sky is a good day to have a drink with buddies, not to make long exposures. No clouds means no drama, and as with level overcast skies, a long direct exposure won’t actually do much.

Step 2: Visit the location well in advance

In a long exposure photo, the world looks completely different from how you see it along with your eyes. You must see a long exposure scene with your brain, imagining the look of moving clouds or the force of the sea. And this takes time – certainly longer compared to it takes to shoot just one, fast-shutter-speed composition.

To address this issue, and to make sure you return home with a solid shot or two, I suggest you scout the location ahead of time. Think about any moving items you might encounter, such as clouds, water, or even birds. Attempt to determine how they’ll move on the afternoon of your long exposure photoshoot (you might even take a few long exposure test shots).

Also, utilize a photo preparing app to determine where the sun will be situated during your final shot, then take steps to avoid putting it in the frame. Why? Nicely, the sun moves across the sky, so if you include it within your composition, you’ll end up with the bright streak of gentle, which generally does not look great in an otherwise magical long exposure shot.

seaside cliffs long exposure

Step 3: Set up the right gear (including a tripod)

Long exposure photography isn’t especially gear intensive. You need a digital camera, and while I recommend a DIGITAL SLR or a mirrorless body, you may also get away with using a mobile phone. You also might need a filter , based on the lighting conditions – more on that later.

But you definitely, one-hundred % do need a tripod.

A tripod help keep your camera steady throughout a five-second, ten-second, and even ten-minute exposure. Without a tripod, you’re bound to end up with the blurry shot, no matter the ability of your camera’s in-body image stabilization.

So don’t risk missing out. Invest in a quality tripod, one which can withstand significant breeze (especially if you shoot near the coast), and it’ll pay out you back for years.

At this point in the prolonged exposure shooting process, you will want to mount your digital camera on the tripod, then setup any relevant accessories, for example your filter holder (if you plan to use drop-in filters), and your remote shutter release (if you plan to use 1, though you can also get away using a remote shooting app in your phone or your camera’s self-timer).

Note: While you’ll need to install the filter holder in the front of your lens, wait around to actually add the filter. This is very important!

Step 4: Compose the image and locking mechanism focus

Refine your composition , then set your focus.

In general, you’ll want to keep the entire shot sharp from foreground to background, so focus at the hyperfocal distance (about a third of the way to the scene). If you’re struggling to determine where to focus, try using the depth of field loan calculator such as PhotoPills .

If you use manual focus, go ahead and set the lens’s focus band exactly where you want it. If you work with autofocus, position your dynamic autofocus point over your main subject, half-press the shutter button to engage the focus, then toggle your lens from Autofocus to Manual . That way, the focus will remain locked, even if you accidentally press the shutter button again.

lighthouse long exposure

Step 5: Set the particular exposure

Now it’s time to choose your essential camera settings. First, set your camera in order to Manual (M) mode or even Aperture Concern (A/Av) mode and your ISO to your camera’s lowest native value (probably ISO 50, ISO a hundred, or ISO 200).

Then collection the aperture to an appropriate value for the scene (for landscapes , I suggest between f/8 plus f/11), pick the shutter speed based on your camera’s suggestion, and take a test chance.

Check your histogram to determine whether you’ve nailed the exposure (do not really trust your display; it is too bright! ). Quality is complete when you obtain a correct exposure, so modify your shutter speed or even exposure compensation, then maintain shooting until you get the outcome you want.

(Side note: It’s true there is no universally correct outcome on the histogram, but you can find histograms that are universally wrong; namely, histograms skewed completely to the right or still left side, indicating overexposure or underexposure, respectively. )

Once a test shot is successful, write down the shutter speed you used for that will image, then move on to another step.

Stage 6: Add your filter

Now add your fairly neutral density filter . If you’re shooting in near night and you don’t need an ultra-long exposure (e. h., you’re okay with an exposure in the five-second to thirty-second range), you can get away along with shooting filterless, but for most long exposure shots, a filter is a good idea.

If your filter is very strong (10 stops, for example), you will not be able to see through the particular viewfinder or Live Watch. Do not worry, though – if you have followed the guidebook up to this point, you will notice that we get already made the composition and set the focus. You may be capturing blind, but all can be prepared and your camera might find everything perfectly.

water moving on the rocks

Step 7: In order to Bulb mode

Bulb mode allows you to discard your camera’s thirty-second shutter quickness limit, so if your digital camera has this option, I recommend using it. If your camera doesn’t have Light bulb mode, or if your filtration system isn’t especially dark and you’re shooting in solid light, you may not need to get this to change.

Stage 8: Calculate the right shutter speed and take your lengthy exposure shot

You’re almost there; how is your day holding up? In this step, all you need to do is determine the ideal shutter speed, which requires a simple calculation.

Remember the shutter speed that you noted straight down from the test shot a person took during Step 5? Now you must adjust the shutter speed to compensate for your number of stops introduced with the filter.

For example , if your test shot has been 1/15s and you’re utilizing a 10-stop filter, you’ll have to decrease the shutter speed by 10 stops, for a shutter speed of approximately one minute.

(If you’re not really using a filter, then you’ll decrease your shutter speed by zero halts. )

Also, don’t let the mathematics frighten you. On the internet, you can easily look for conversion tables and applications for your smartphone that will do the conversion in moments.

Finally, take your picture!

seaside sunset

Action 9: Check the histogram again

Once you’ve taken the shot, look into the histogram as a final precaution.

When the new histogram is around equal to the histogram of the test shot, you’ve achieved your mission (feel happy! ). But if the new histogram is shifted too far to the right or the left, repeat the shot again, yet adjust the shutter speed accordingly.

Long exposure photography: final terms

Well, there you have it: a simple explained long exposure photography.

Easy, isn’t it? Now fill your backpack with your camera and filter systems and go practice during a call!

Long publicity FAQs

When should you perform long exposure photography?

That can be done long exposure photography at any time provided you have the right tools. I recommend starting out with lengthy exposure photography in the extremely early morning or the very past due evening; that way, you’ll have the ability to see what you’re taking photos of, but the limited light allows impressively long exposures. In most cases, the easiest time to perform long exposure photography is any moment when the light is restricted.

Can you take long publicity photos in daylight?

Yes! However , you’ll need a natural density filter. Otherwise, your long exposure images can turn out too bright.

What makes my long exposure pictures white?

If your long publicity photos are white, after that you’re overexposing your images. You’ll need to increase the shutter rate, narrow the aperture, or even drop the ISO to pay for this issue.

What is supposed by “long exposure” within photography?

Long exposure describes a technique where you keep the shutter open for an unusually long period of time. So instead of recording an image in a split second, a person trigger the shutter switch and wait – often for minutes or even hours – until the exposure is finished!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Francesco Gola

Francesco Gola

is an German engineer who’s fallen deeply in love with photography. Born in Malta in 1981, as soon as using the taking pictures he fell in love with long exposures of seascapes. For him a long publicity is a parallel universe by which to escape from the frenzy of recent life. His passion for the sea and for travels let him to visit some of the most iconic areas on this planet looking at associated with different eyes. See associated with his work on 500px or even his internet site or sign up for one of his Workshops around the world!

I need help with…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *