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A Guide to Shooting Long Exposure Landscape Photos

Here’s a 21-minute photography guide from Gordon Laing that looks at the long exposure technique. This is where you increase the shutter speed of your camera, letting in light to the sensor over a longer duration to create unique effects.

Long exposure photography

Long exposures are often used for smoothing out moving water, or smudging clouds as they drift past in the wind. Whatever the reason, long exposures can produce dreamy and magical results, and they are a key weapon in any landscape photographer’s arsenal.

“It’s also very forgiving in bad weather,” says Laing. “It allows you to grab moody-looking images on overcast days, or even in the pouring rain.”

Laing also points out that all of the normal compositional rules of landscape photography apply to your long exposure images. A long exposure is most-often used to enhance a particular scene, rather than create something that varies so drastically that the composition is different.

There is no set duration, either. You could shoot anything from a couple of seconds to multiple minutes (such as by using the LEE Filters 15-stop Super Stopper).

A longer duration will bring out more movement in the image, but you may find that the effect is too strong or that camera shake is introduced by something as simple as the wind buffeting your tripod.

Check out the full video above for a great guide to long exposure landscape photography from Laing. If you want more check out these dPS articles on the topic:

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Will Nicholls
Will Nicholls

is a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from the UK. He has won multiple awards for his work, including the title of Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2009. Will runs a blog for nature photographers, Nature TTL, which provides tutorials and inspirational articles to readers. He also has a free eBook available called 10 Top Tips to Instantly Improve Your Nature Photos.