When taking pictures, long exposure photography is a technique that allows you to capture the passage of time in a single frame. Long exposure photography involves using a prolonged shutter speed to capture an extended period in a single image. This technique is particularly popular for capturing motion, creating dreamy effects, and transforming mundane scenes into works of art.
By allowing more light to hit the camera sensor over an extended duration, long exposure images often showcase dynamic elements such as flowing water, streaking lights, and blurred clouds, adding a sense of drama and surrealism to the photograph. Understanding and mastering long exposure photography can open up a realm of creative possibilities.
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Anytime you’re dealing with long exposure photography you’ll need most of the equipment listed below so that you have full control over what you’re trying to create.
Camera settings will depend since there are different ways to photograph long exposure shots. Do yourself a favor and shoot in RAW. If you’re still shooing in JPEG it’s time to cut that ish out and level up! Having complete control over all aspects of your image is crucial since there’s going to be a lot of trial and error. Editing in post-process plays a key role in bringing out the best final result. I don’t like to give exact settings anymore because it’s heavily dependent on your environment.
Long exposure photography is like a creative playground with diverse tricks up its sleeve. It’s a realm where moments are stretched, lights shine through, and the world is seen through a lens of artistic possibilities.
Light painting photography is a sub-genre of long exposure techniques where photographers use an off-camera light source such as a flashlight, fiber optic, or even the flash on a cellphone to draw or alter an image. I showcase light painting extensively on my channels
Everyone needs to physically see and photograph the Milky Way at least once in their life. I’ve been able to photograph the Milky Way consistently almost every year since I took photography seriously. My last instance was in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the clearest and darkest skies in the world!
Photographing the Milky Way involves a combination of long exposure photography techniques and considerations specific to astrophotography. A moonless night in a dark sky location is the best for minimizing light pollution.
A panning shot is a long exposure photography technique that captures a moving subject while intentionally introducing motion blur to the background. This is commonly used to convey a sense of speed or dynamic action.
Select a subject that is moving horizontally, such as a passing car, a cyclist, or a person running. As the subject approaches, start tracking its movement with your camera. While standing in the same spot, use your upper body to pan and follow the subject.
Light trails are an effect that occurs when a camera’s shutter is left open for an extended period, allowing moving light sources to leave a trail or streak burned into the image. Light trails are popular and visually striking, especially when photographing fireworks, traffic, cityscapes, or other dynamic scenes.
The term “ghost long exposure” typically refers to where a portion of the scene includes a transparent representation of a moving subject. Timing matters to get that balance of the subject’s body appearing as a ‘ghost’ while having light trails move in the direction it’s going.
Out of all the types of long exposure photography listed here, this is the most fun, but also the most frustrating. Patience is key here! The speed and direction of the subject’s movement will influence the appearance of the ghosting effect. Experiment with different movement speeds and directions to achieve varied results.
This creative long exposure photography technique involves changing the focal length of a zoom lens during the exposure, resulting in a visually striking result. This technique adds a sense of movement and energy to the image by creating radial streaks or bursts that emanate from the center of the frame.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to utilize long exposure photography that adds a touch of magic to your images. By understanding the principles and investing time in experimentation, you can unlock a world of creative possibilities. So, grab your camera, set up your tripod, and capture the fleeting moments!
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