Long exposure photography is a skill that produces incredible effects and moods. Even when you shoot at night, you’ll be able to create detailed photos with beautiful light effects. If you like shooting outdoors, long exposure photography could help you. When you understand what it can do to your images, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to learn it.
Self-teaching is the best option because you can go at your own pace. Here are 6 tips you can follow to ensure that you’re doing things the right way.
Six Long Exposure Photography Tips
They do not guarantee you’ll become a master of long exposure overnight. These tips will however, help you understand long exposure techniques a little better.
1. Vibration is your enemy.
Make sure your camera and tripod are on a steady, well-balanced surface. Put something heavy on the tripod (like sandbags) to add some weight. The extra weight will add stability to the tripod and your camera.
Besides using extra weight, use a remote so there won’t be any need to press the shutter button. Pressing the shutter button also contributes to vibration. You can prevent this by using a delay in the shutter, e.g. 2 or 3 seconds, but using a remote is the most practical option.
2. Be careful of the weather.
Before the shoot, get as much weather information as you can about the location. Find ways to keep an eye on the weather, especially if it has been raining for days.
Do not schedule a photoshoot when the sky is cloudy or when it’s raining. Unless it’s the kind of shot you’re looking for and your camera equipment is protected! Check the weather forecasts as it can change in a matter of minutes to hours.
3. Visualise and compose your photo
Pay close attention to the surroundings of your location. Try to visualise how they play into the picture. This is vital because you need to find ways to improve the scene for the long exposure shot.
Assess the total picture as well as your focal interest (subject).
See out top 10 tips on composition in photography.
4. Make light, your friend.
Whether you shoot at night or during the day, you need to be aware of the available light. Is there enough lighting? How much light do you need to shoot at night?
What kinds of man-made light sources are there available at the time of the shooting? Think more about light and how to improve the shot.
5. Do your test shots
Do not shoot right away once you’ve finalised the setup. Instead, take some time with test shots. Don’t forget to configure your camera by setting it to Manual (M) or Aperture Priority (A/Av) mode. Take note of the final results and make the necessary adjustments.
6. Take the shot
Before clicking the shutter button, be sure that you have changed the setting to Bulb or B for the shooting mode. Doing so will help you keep the shutter open for as long as you need to.
Make sure the other settings weren’t altered by accident. As you begin taking the shot, keep in mind everything you’ve learned from your practice shots.