Long Exposure Photography Tips

To help you start out, here are quick tips you should follow and keep in mind. These do not assure that you’ll become a master long exposure photographer, but they can help you do things right. These can help you make the proper start to your long exposure practice. Follow all these tips so you won’t wonder where you went wrong or why the shot didn’t come out the way you expected it to.

1. Avoid vibration of any kind

Make sure that your camera and tripod are on a steady, balanced surface. Some photographers even put something heavy on the tripod (like sand bags) to add some weight to it. The extra weight will make the tripod and camera sturdier. In addition to the extra weight, it will help if you use a remote shutter so there won’t be a need to press the shutter manually. Pressing the shutter can cause some vibration.

2. Be mindful of the weather

Days before the shoot, get all the information you can about the weather. Find ways to monitor the weather, especially if it has been raining for days or if it’s the rainy season. Do not schedule a shoot when the sky is cloudless or when the rains are pouring heavily. But pay attention to the weather forecast because conditions can change in a matter of minutes or hours. Do a location inspection several days before the shoot – study and familiarize it. This will give you ideas on how to set up the shoot and which shots to take. Likewise, an ocular inspection will give you the opportunity to study your concept, as well as to determine whether the location is perfect for what you want to achieve.

3. Visualize and compose your photo

Pay attention to the surroundings of your location and try to visualize how they can be incorporated into the shot or photo. This is important because you need to find a way to improve the scene or location for the long exposure shot. It is essential to pay attention to the total picture and not just the ones that are your focal interest.

4. Lock the focus and look for leaks

Make sure that your photo is well-composed. Do not lose your focus on the subject. You can manually lock the focus or use the shutter button if you are on autofocus mode. Be sure to lightly press (not full press) the button until the focus you want is achieved. Be mindful of the leaks. If there are leaks on the camera’s viewfinder (or anywhere else), you need to seal them off. To do this, you need to bring with you a black tape and any opaque material that you can use to cover the leaks. Even if the leaks are tiny ones, they can still affect the outcome of your long exposure shot.

5. Pay attention to the light

Whether you shoot in the daytime or at night, it is important to be mindful of the light. Is there ambient lighting? How much light can I get if I shoot at night? What man-made light sources can I use? Asking these questions will help you determine how much of your light requirement need to be improved and which ones should be utilized.