Have you mastered your “regular” photography skills? If so, you’re probably ready to branch out and try something new. Challenge your photography skills by learning how to take long exposure photography for some truly eye-catching images. Here is everything you need to know to get started on your new adventure with long exposure photography.
What is long exposure photography, why would you use it?
Long exposure photography doesn’t really require any new skills. It’s basically the same process as standard still photography. You’ll want to use long exposure photography when your goal is to achieve a somewhat different outcome than the normal still shot. Long exposure photography requires using a much longer shutter speed than standard, still photography. It is used most often to achieve a blurring affect. You might want to use a long exposure when photographing running water in a stream or the stars at night to blur your images.
What you need to get started
Because you’ll be using a much longer shutter speed with long exposure photography, you will need to add a few items to your kit. Keeping your camera completely still while taking the long exposure shot is crucial. Therefore, a good tripod is a necessity for long exposure photography. Another important piece of equipment you need to carry with you for long exposure photography is an ND filter. An ND filter from Beachcamera.com will reduce the amount of light that enters your lens. When the light is reduced, your camera will use a longer shutter speed. That is the ultimate goal to create outstanding long exposure photography.
The camera settings you need to use for long exposure photography aren’t set in stone. They will vary depending on your subject matter, your desired effect, and the amount of light at your location. However, there are a few general guidelines you can use as a good starting point. To enable the shutter on your Sony a7S III Alpha Full Frame Mirrorless Camera from Beachcamera.com to stay open as long as you want, choose Bulb mode. Then set your shutter speed based on your needs. If you’re shooting long exposure photography with a lot of light, choose faster shutter speeds, and vice versa with less light. Image too blurry? The shutter was left open too long. The blur effect not as dramatic as you wanted? The shutter wasn’t open long enough. Next, choose a low number for your ISO, around 50-200. Again, depending on the lighting conditions for your long exposure photography, set your aperture between f/8 and f/16. As with any photography genre, practice makes perfect.
What to photograph
It’s important to know what gear to add to your camera bag. Of course you need to know about any special settings that will help you achieve quality long exposure photography. But if you don’t know what to photograph, none of that will really matter. Search for subjects with movement for your long exposure photography. Rivers, streams and waterfalls are popular landscape scenes for long exposure photography. Moving cars or people also make great long exposure photography subjects. Whatever you choose, just remember to include other elements in the long exposure shot to enhance the motion. If you’re shooting the flowing water of a stream, try to also include a rock or two in the middle. If you’re taking long exposure shots of the stars at night, try to include a building in the foreground.
You’ve added a few pieces of equipment to your camera bag, and adjusted a couple of settings on your camera. All you have to do now is locate the perfect subject for your long exposure photography.