The Secrets Behind Long Exposure Photography
You’ve seen those moody shots of water that seem to be running like smooth mist over rocks or bright starry nights on Instagram. But how do you create them? These photographers have used a technique called long exposure.
This is essentially when the shutter speed of the camera is slowed right down so that the camera can capture as much light as possible. If anything is moving while the photograph is taken, it will become blurry. This is how moving water (waves, waterfalls, rapids) can look so smooth, or how moving cars at night create streaks of light across an image.
The technique is also used on still subjects, especially at night. The best way to capture the Milky Way is to go out to a clear spot where there are no other light sources, set up your camera and take a photo with an extremely slow shutter speed. Those photos where the stars cause streaks around the sky are created by a shutter speed so slow that the camera can even pick up the stars moving.
Stay Completely Still
You may want to capture some movement in your photo for effect, but it’s essential that the actual camera stays completely still during the capturing process. A tripod is your best bet for this. Some photographers even go so far as to weight their tripods down with sandbags or rocks for extra security.
Once your camera is secure, you need to press the shutter button. If you have a remote for your camera, that is ideal. You won’t risk even the slightest vibration or knock if you don’t actually have to touch it.
Know Your Location
There are three things to consider here: location, conditions and composition. The conditions are largely down to the weather. Make sure you know it’s not going to be too bright or on the flip side, raining. Those will prevent your photos from coming out clearly. If you’re shooting water, make sure you know the tides and the levels at the time of day you’re going. If you’re shooting the streets, work out what the people and traffic situation will be.
When considering your location, the conditions will be the first thing you look at. Next, think about the terrain. Where will you place your tripod and camera? How safe is it to set up and stay there for a long time while you get the perfect long exposure?
It’s definitely best to check out the location before your actual shoot. You can then find the best answers to these questions and consider the actual composition of your photographs.
Lock It In
Once you’ve known your location, have the ideal day for your shoot and know exactly what it is you want to achieve with your photograph, make sure you keep your focus on the goal. This is the same advice the betting guides we love would offer, and any other expert advice on any topic too. That means you need to literally make sure the focus on your camera is properly set to manual and on the place you want it to be.