HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS USING A “LONG EXPOSURE”

beach during golden hour
Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

Photos taken using a long exposure are probably the most well loved photos today. They seem so “dreamy” as one person said. Almost every good photographer today, has probably tried some long exposures, but, honestly, everyone who wants to be a good creative photographer should try this. In today’s blog, we will go through the steps so you will know how to do this as well.

Let’s go through this series of photos and then describe what it takes for you to accomplish the same thing.
  1. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the subject of “long Exposure” was what you can do with water to make it even more beautiful, like this photo above. I am going to guess that this photo was taken with about a 2 to 5 second exposure in daylight. There are two ways to do this: A- knowing that you are going to use a long exposure, longer than you should try to hand hold, you MUST HAVE A TRIPOD. Usually when I do a photo like this, I try to determine if I want the water to have some detail to the water, or to really go all the way, and blur it, like above. The first method with your DSLR camera is to do this in “shutter priority” mode (Tv is usually how the camera manufactures will show the setting on the dial). This stands for “Time Value”. This leaves the camera in an automatic mode, but, you get to pick the shutter speed you want. So, pick 5, or 10 seconds to get this photo above, and then the camera will automatically pick the aperture setting for you.

But wait! A 10 second exposure in the middle of the day, what will your camera set at automatically? Probably F96, or F125 might work. There is a limit to the amount of aperture settings on a lens. There is no such thing as F96 or F125 on your lenses, or aperture. So, how do you do this? WITH ND FILTERS.

A Complete Guide on How to Use Neutral Density Filters
You can get your filters in different “Opaque”. Above, you can see #3, #6, #10

These ND FILTERS do not change the color of your image, they only stop a certain amount of light through your lens to the image sensor. Thus forcing your camera to be able to use an aperture that will allow your photo idea to work. You must be able to limit the amount of light to your sensor if you want to use slow shutter speeds. If you are serious about creating this effects, you will want to get that in your camera bag. (Click the words in red, like ND FILTERS, and you will be taken to a link that tells you more about it, plus, you can purchase these filters there).

At night, on a tripod, it is very interesting to get the “automobile lights” to drag across the screen to get this effect

2- This type of photo will require these two things: A TRIPOD again, and good camera that you can regulate your shutter speed. With this type of photo, taking several shots will be advantageous, just to find out what your exposure should be. It might be good to record what each of your shots did for your picture. You might still need some ND FILTERS if you need to get it within a certain range.

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

Doing a photo of fireworks, I think, is the easiest to do. After sitting there and watching the fireworks, determine where in the sky the fireworks will explode. Once that is established, point your camera to that area while your camera is on the TRIPOD and put your camera setting on the “B”mode. (B stands for “Bulb” and was used in the early camera years, because you literally had to squeeze a rubber “bulb” and hold the squeeze until you want it to turn off). Then click the shutter open until the explosion is done. I have often just chosen F8 or F11 for a good F number.

The words in Red have a special link to get you more information about the item, whether it be a description or if you are ready to make a purchase. Click it.

Enjoy trying this out. This is a fun exercise to try, but, usually you have time to try it again, if you didn’t get it right the first time.

Here are a few more photos taken with a long exposure:

red and black abstract painting
Photo by Alex Montes on Pexels.com
lightning strikes
Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com
grey moutain
Photo by Rocky Evans Llona on Pexels.com

51 Different photo subjects. And I have done a blog on nearly every one of these subjects. You will notice that this blog is about “A long Exposure”. that means I have only 7 more to go.

Go back and read one of those subjects that interest you. They will be on this website until August 14th.

Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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