Manipulation Night Photography Photography Techniques

How to Use Long Exposures

Focusing on your shutter speed and adjusting other variables accordingly when taking photographs are needed to get the best long exposure shots possible. When using long exposures, here are some of the things you may need to keep in mind.

exposurePhotographers who take photographs at night or in low light usually use long exposures when taking photos.  If you want to blur light and motion, you can also use long exposures.  Shutter speeds as slow as one second are often required under low-light conditions.  If you want to make night scenes to appear as bright as day or if you want to create blurred motion effects, you may need to keep your shutter open for longer than a minute.

Focusing on your shutter speed and adjusting other variables accordingly when taking photographs are needed to get the best long exposure shots possible.  There are even opportunities to use long exposure in a commercial sense. You can learn more about that in Photography Business Quick Steps. When using long exposures, here are some of the things you may need to keep in mind.

Get A Tripod

A tripod is very handy … no essential! – if you want to keep your camera still for your long exposures shots.  A tripod can greatly minimize unwanted camera movement and you can avoid blurriness in your pictures.  The rule of thumb here is if you are using a shutter speed slower than 1/30th of a second, it would be wise to use a tripod.  When getting yourself a tripod, get yourself a quality and sturdy one.  Quality tripods may cost more than ordinary ones but they are very durable and will definitely be serviceable for a long time.

Aperture And Shutter Speed

If you are shooting in night or low light conditions and you want to minimize your shutter speed, open your camera’s aperture as wide as possible.  With a wide aperture, you will be allowing more light to pass through the lens in just a shorter amount of time.

If you want to maximize your shutter speed when shooting in low light or night conditions, close your aperture to a smaller setting.  If you are shooting with bright lights, on the other hand and you want to blur a certain motion, allow for a longer exposure without overexposing your image by shooting with a reduced aperture.

Film Speed And Digital Sensor Sensitivity Setting

Pay attention to the film speed and digital sensor sensitivity setting of your camera when taking photographs under night or low light conditions.  When you are using a film camera, look at the film’s ISO number as the higher ISO numbers are generally more sensitive to light so they are better suited to night or low light shooting conditions.

If you are using a digital camera, the sensors on it often have similar ISO numbers that usually indicates the current sensitivity setting of the sensor.  You can keep this setting constant if you want to experiment with the aperture and shutter speed or you can adjust it according to existing conditions.

Using Delayed Time Released Shutter

If you want to include yourself in the picture, you can use a delayed time release shutter.  Devices like this will give you just enough time between the moment when you actually press the shutter button down and the moment of the actual opening of the shutter.  You can use this camera feature to create light paintings, for example, with long exposures.  You can hold and move around a flashlight or candle in a purposeful or abstract pattern and you will record it as a single line moving through space with a long exposure shot.

Experiment

You can learn more about long exposures by shooting multiple pictures of a single subject with various shutter speeds.  Experimenting on different exposure times can teach you a lot and it will help you understand more the matter of long exposure.  You can compare the outcome of your experiments to determine which exposure, aperture, or combination of the two gave you the best pictures.

…this can be lots of fun too,

Ray Baker