Blog Post 17 (Tips for Long Exposure)

I get a lot of questions about how I take photos like the one to the right. The technique used in the photograph is called long exposure. Long-exposure photography involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. This was a technique I discovered accidentally while I was messing around with my camera at the beach a few years back. Long exposure can be used in all sorts different ways. There’s light painting, star trails, milky way shots, light painting, water photography, and even a way tomake cars leave trails of light. Long exposure is a super easy concept to grasp. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Make sure its your camera is set to long shutter speed. In photography, shutter speed is the length of time the sensor inside the camera is exposed to light. So with a longer exposure, you allow more time for your sensor to pick up the moving objects in your scene. 

2. Make sure you ISO is low. As a starting point I typically bring my ISO down to 100 for light painting and around 400 for night time photos of the sky. By bring the ISO down, the final images are less susceptible to being overexposed

3. If you’re doing long exposure of water during the day (Like shooting a waterfall), make sure you use a neutral density filter. Neutral density filters limit the amount of light that hits your sensor (basically like sunglasses for your camera). Your sensor will become overexposed If you leave your shutter open for a long period of time during the day, just like if you use a higher ISO when your doing night time long exposure work, so a neutral density filter will help with that.

4. A great thing about long exposure is you don’t need a fancy camera to do it. All you need is a smartphone with the correct app. A few different apps exist, both paid and free, but they are super easy to use and the photos are then right there on your phone.

I hope this helped anyone interested in long exposure photography. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know in the comment section below

Until next week! - Evan