Long Exposure Photography Tips - B&C Camera

To capture genuinely stunning and otherworldly photos, you must try night photography using long exposure. Most significant for this technique is a dependable tripod that will keep your camera still during the entire shot and a DSLR or Mirrorless camera equipped with long exposure settings. With these tools, you can create memorable images of the night sky like never before!



Long Exposure Photography Tips:

  1. Use a tripod.
  2. Set your camera to Manual mode.
  3. Choose an ISO setting between 100-400 for best results.
  4. Set your shutter speed to "bulb mode" so that it stays open as long as you want it to (some cameras will have a "T" setting which works similarly).
  5. Choose an ISO setting between 100-400 for best results.
  6. Use an ND filter for daytime long exposure photography.
  7. Find a scene with motion, like a moving river in landscape photography.

How to Take Long Exposures

Once you've set up your camera and chosen all the settings, it's time to start shooting! Start off with shorter exposures (1 second) and work up from there until you get the desired effect in your photo (2-4 seconds is usually good for star trails). If you're shooting a landscape or other static scene at night, try using longer exposures (up to 30 seconds) for more dramatic effects.

Be sure not to overexpose your shot; use a low ISO if necessary and adjust other settings accordingly if needed.


Time Lapse Photo of Red and Yellow Lighted Ferris Wheel

Choose a Ferris Wheel As Your Subject

To capture the beauty of a Ferris wheel illuminated in the night sky, move up close and utilize a wide-angle lens to acquire all the details. Once your composition is set, mount your camera securely on a tripod and frame your shot perfectly.


To ensure every detail of your photo is sharp, select a small aperture between f/11-f/32. Whether you use Manual or TV (Shutter Priority) mode, set the shutter speed according to how fast the Ferris wheel moves and what style you're aiming for -- anywhere from 1-30 seconds.


To maintain the highest level of clarity, use your camera's self-timer or cable release for this image. Doing so will prevent any jostling that could blur the shot and increase the number of light trails visible against a dark sky. The center spokes will remain crisp in focus despite those around them being blurry from movement.


Circular Star Trails

Try Your Hand at Star Trails

On a star-spangled night, long exposures can create stunning and ethereal light trails as the stars drift across the sky, illuminated by the earth's rotation.


To create the perfect image, find exciting elements, such as a gnarled tree, to add interest in the foreground. For maximum clarity and sharpness, mount your camera on a tripod and adjust focus to infinity. To avoid any chance of distortion due to the camera shaking when you click the shutter button, be sure to use a shutter release cable! A single moment of vibration can destroy your photo.


For the most significant results, set your camera to Bulb mode and select an aperture between f/2.8 – f/4. To begin the exposure, press the remote control release button; for limited digital noise, ensure that you have your ISO at 100. After 15 minutes to several hours have passed (according to what you want in the photograph), push on the remote once again and close off the shutter.


Brown Rock Formation with light trail on the road

Capture Stunning Light Trails

Illuminate your photography with the stunning effect of traffic light trails! You'll be amazed at how quickly you can become comfortable working with long exposures simply by shooting these beautiful streaks.


To capture the hustle and bustle of evening traffic, choose a road to set up your camera. Secure it on a reliable tripod with an aperture size setting at f/16 or lower for increased depth of field so that most elements in the frame stay sharp.


Prolonged exposure leads to the emergence of longer and more distinct lines.


How to Determine Your Exposure

When shooting at night, the exposure of your images is contingent upon multiple different aspects. In a brightly lit setting, reduce the shutter speed to decrease how much light enters through the lens. On the other hand, if it's particularly dark outside, leave your shutter open for longer so that more light can enter - this will also extend the exposure time.


To adequately capture the illuminance of light trails, you must utilize a shutter speed of no less than 1/15th of a second and a tripod. I managed to relay the fleeting beauty of London's Houses of Parliament with an impressive 6-second shutter speed, slow enough to capture vivid streaks from passing traffic! By setting my aperture at f/8, it allowed the structure itself to remain sharp and crisp.


The more you hone your craft, the better aptitude you will develop for attaining a desired impact from various exposures.


The Settings We Recommend

The most crucial factor when determining optimal exposure is preserving both the shadows and highlights of your image.


To make a breathtaking night scene, capturing the most suitable shadows is necessary. When taking long exposures with your camera shutter, you must be careful not to overexpose. If so, all the details of your lit subject will be lost, and even its identity might become unrecognizable! Get it right, though – and you'll have something truly remarkable that deserves compliments galore.


Creating stunning light trails requires a tripod and a shutter speed of at least one second. To start, select the Shutter Priority mode on your camera with an initial 1-second setting to capture the lighting effect desired. If this isn't long enough for your vision, incrementally add 2 seconds until it's perfect! Thanks to digital photography technology today, you'll know immediately if you've gone too far as there will be more blurring than expected - in which case, dial back down by one full second and adjust from there.


For the most breathtaking night-time photography, a dependable tripod is essential to accompany your digital camera. This will provide stability and support for your device, avoiding blurry images in your pictures.


With repetition and an understanding of the necessary lighting parameters, you can become a master at taking long-exposure images at night. Your shutter speed could range from 1/60th to multiple minutes, depending on what is available! What makes these types of photos so unique is that each one will be distinct due to unpredictable light trail movements. With practice, your collection of pictures will possess authenticity like no other!


Related article: How to Take Pictures of the Night Sky like a Star

Related article: Landscape Photography Composition

Related article: Tips for Filming at Night

Related article: Best Lens for Landscape Photography


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