How to Take Long Exposure Shots in Daylight

How to Take Long Exposure Shots in Daylight


In this video Scott Kelby demonstrates how to take long exposure photos – during the day. The image he takes is exposed for a whole 2 minutes at ISO 200 and at f/11.

Thanks to the team at WeeklyPhotoTips and Scott Kelby for shooting the video.

Check out more of Scott’s great teaching in his wildly popular Digital Photography Books.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Cindy Powers July 17, 2013 08:04 pm

    that was an amazing and the clearest tutorial I have seen yet on long exposures in the daylight, Thank you both so much!!

  • karen March 8, 2013 09:47 pm

    rushing out to try it know thanks.

  • kay October 13, 2012 10:44 am

    Excellent video, very helpful! Thank you. Is a ND filter needed for night time long exposure shots? And would the viewfinder need to be covered for night time long exposure shots? A cable release can be pressed down for however long you want to?

  • Dave February 26, 2012 03:14 am

    What are you trying to accomplish with a multi hours daylight shot?

  • Alice February 25, 2012 08:35 am


    Would this allow me to take an exposures lasting a number of hours? If guessing not, if so does anyone know of anything that would help me to do this? I have access to a Canon 5D and 500 D. Great video.


  • dzo January 21, 2012 08:23 am

    wooooww...u could just say you need a ND filter, from B+W which costs no less that 200$ BRAVO...what a tutorial

  • sven cooke November 9, 2011 08:07 pm

    Many thanks for the tips. Scott is a really great teacher. The video is extremely useful. Hopefully I can pu some of it into practice to make my photos much better. Many thanks

  • Joelle Herman October 5, 2011 12:16 am

    Using my Nikon D90 and B+W ND 110 (like SK) I took this at local farm while the kids visited the petting zoo and corn maze. Hope you like. Great video tutorial and tips. This shot is only 30 sec. Joelle

  • Paul September 18, 2011 08:34 pm

    As always, Scott makes it all look easy, must try this out!

  • Alberto September 7, 2011 04:42 pm

    By the way, here you can see a 120 secs picture that I did with daylight

  • Alberto September 7, 2011 04:40 pm

    ND8 doesn't mean 8 stops. In the video he says that uses a 10 stops filter. An ND8 provides 3 stops, so you can't leave the shooter open for 10 seconds. With that filter, you should set the ISO to 100 and close to f22 (if possible) to get long exposure, but not for minutes.

  • Jz September 7, 2011 07:42 am

    Check this link for more info on the filters. If it's too exposed try it for less amount of time. If you want a longer time try a darker filter or stack a couple.

  • Samantha September 7, 2011 07:35 am

    I'm so confused! I set my Nikon exactly how Scott Kelby described he was using his own in the video but even on a 10 second exposure I'm getting over exposed shots that just look completely white. Yes I've set my ISO to 200 ( i could go to 100 of I needed too) and yes my f stop is at 11, ( I can go higher with that if need be as well), and yes, I have a tripod and a remote so I don't move/touch the camera while it's shooting. The only difference is that I'm using an ND 8 filter instead of an ND 10; is that going to make such a difference? Or am I just doing something wrong in general? Any suggestions?

  • Lindsay September 5, 2011 04:28 pm

    Just curious wether or not I'm doing something terribly wrong. I;m using canon 60D with 18-200 lens and ND8 filter, iso 100 at f-16 using bulb mode and can't get a shot longer than about 3secs without over exposing.. :-((

  • Pradipta September 5, 2011 12:35 pm

    If you are craving for a really low ISO, the Pentax K5 starts at 80!

  • Jz August 30, 2011 10:23 pm

    The D7000 is an excellent choice.
    As for lenses I personally prefer wide angle lenses for landscape. I have a sigma 10-20mm. However any lens should work just fine. Start with what you have and move up when you are ready and sure that you really enjoy it.

  • Paul Bissett August 30, 2011 04:25 pm

    Looks like I have to buy an ND filter now. Any tips about which lenses work best for this sort of photography?

  • Richard August 30, 2011 01:10 am

    Thanks everyone for the answers! I believe it is time for me to upgrade my D60, is the D7000 a good step up? I know the D700 is better, but I'd rather put what little money I have for gear on lens. Cheers.

  • Alberto August 29, 2011 05:40 pm

    Could this tecnique be used to photograph storms under daylight? A few days ago I was driving my car and I was enjoing with the flashes of lighting in the sky, but it was about 3pm, maybe with this kind of filters we can shot storms all over the day.

  • eric August 29, 2011 02:56 am

    "..what would EV -3 do?"

    The EV setting is just what you as the user want to make the camera think what the optimal exposure is based on what it sees through the viewfinder. For example, if you're in the P, A, or S mode where you make the camera decide the exposure, and you set EV -1, then all your pictures would be 1 stop darker than normal. It does not make the sensor any less sensitive to light (that's what ISO is for).

    In manual (M) mode, you decide how much light goes into the sensor, so the EV settings do not matter. The only difference you would see is in the meter reading. If say, you're at EV -3, the "0" value on the meter is actually at 3 stops darker than you would be at EV +0. The camera thinks that is the correct exposure based on the current exposure compensation settings, but in the end it's still going to be you who will set the ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

  • eric August 28, 2011 10:01 pm

    I agree with Dok. Not having ISO 100 for Nikon cameras isn't as much a 'lost' feature than what the camera is actually capable of. An example would be the D40 and D60. Same sensor size but the D60 has 10 megapixels compared to the D40's 6, resulting in smaller sensors, and hence, lesser sensitivity. Something like saying the sensors on the D60 are only half as big as on the D40. Of course as technology progressed Nikon is now able to make higher-resolution sensors with as much (or better) native ISO ratings as the D40.

    Ah, & the D60 also doesn't have a mirror lock-up feature you can use to actually use to shoot with, so I guess that's why it wasn't mentioned in the vid. I believe that feature isn't available for Nikon's entry-level dslr's. But yep, mirror shake does become negligible when you're shooting really long exposure shots.

  • Ian August 28, 2011 08:04 pm

    Unfortunately,but very important, he did not explain how he arrived at the 2 minutes exposure shutter speed? I presume he could have added 10 stops to what the meter was showing for a proper exposure before putting on the filter but I read somewhere else that these filters can vary the exposure from 10 stops to 11 or even more so it seems to be a bit of trial and error. Perhaps someone who is conversant and experiienced with using them could explain further.

  • Jason August 28, 2011 03:31 pm

    I try not to use circular filters anymore. Each lens has a different size. So you need to buy several of each filter. In the long run it costs more that buying a multi filter system. Sliding up to three square filters into position you can do more effects.

    In the long run, this actually is cheaper, thats how we do do it at

    CHeck out this link, its what we are investing in:
    and the filters:

  • Paul August 28, 2011 11:54 am

    Could you possibly go: ISO 100, f/22 and EV -3? (and bulb mode for manually timed release) I mean, what would EV -3 do?

  • John August 28, 2011 07:37 am

    I am under the impression that most modern cameras will not accept a manual cable release. I know my D90 won't. Obviously you would use the wireless remote, but I was surprised that this was not mentioned.

  • dok August 28, 2011 05:32 am

    I read not much long ago that ISO 200 is the NATIVE sensibility for Nikon cameras (whereas it is 100 ISO for Canon). Native means that it is the setting where no sensor amplification (+ or -) is required => less noise. I guess then that ISO 200 is the best ISO setting for Nikon Cameras.

    @Sam Levy
    "Also He should have mentioned to lock the mirror so that there is no mirror movement on the camera!"
    >> this is only necessary when exposure time is approx 1/15 to 2 sec. If longer, the influence becomes really negligible.

  • lotos August 27, 2011 06:17 am

    thanks guys for sharing this very useful knowledge with us!!! just beautiful!

  • sam levy August 27, 2011 03:39 am

    Also He should have mentioned to lock the mirror so that there is no mirror movement on the camera!

  • Greg August 27, 2011 02:42 am

    Be very careful when attaching the ND filter after focusing or you may move the lens, thus changing the focus point.

  • George L Smyth August 27, 2011 01:46 am

    There is another way to do this with more flexibility, and one I employ on a regular basis - use two polarizing filters. One (or both) of the polarizing filters needs to be a circular polarizer. When you place one over the other with the circular polarizer being away from the camera, rotating it will begin to cancel the light out. You are polarizing light in one direction through one filter, then polarizing it the other way through the second filter.

    The flexibility of this method allows you to determine how long you want the exposure to be while keeping your selected aperture and ISO. You may wish a two minute exposure of water, but you may wish to take pictures of crowds moving about and have the exposure last 15 seconds. I would imagine that pretty much everyone already has a circular polarizing filter, so purchasing a second one (and remember that it does not need to be a circular polarizing filter) is not expensive at all.

    The only negative with this method is that if you are shooting wide open, are using a zoom lens, and the lens is set to the widest setting, there could be vignetting at the corners, depending upon the height of the two filters. Other than that, it is a flexible way of obtaining the same results.

    Cheers -


  • tim gray August 27, 2011 12:14 am

    Not just for water... City streets look fantastic as well. the flow of cars and people make an interesting image.

  • Alberto August 26, 2011 10:23 pm

    I did my own 10 or 12 stops ND filter for 5 euros (7,5 US$) with a welding glass. I know it's not the best one but it costs 5 euros. I could make a 120 secs shot at 17 pm with daylight, and it was quite nice.
    In this link you can see how to make it (it is a hand-made filter), it is in spanish language but I hope it would be usefull to you.
    I love this site.

  • Andy August 26, 2011 08:27 pm

    @Bekah, you can shoot in colour using the ND filter. Colour is not affected because the filter is neutral density.

  • Rick August 26, 2011 02:30 pm

    Word to the wise regarding the B+W 10-stop (3.0): Better get your white balance on, 'cuz that thing let's in a lot of reddish/maroonish color cast. Easily fixable in Lightroom, but just be aware that it's there.

  • J-Fry August 26, 2011 02:22 pm

    Yes, for those Nikon users that have it, keep selecting ISO past the 200 mark and you will get to Low -1, which equals 100. Nice video. Always wondered about those daylight shots. I've got the night long exposure fun happening but now to enjoy the daylight the same way.

  • JZ August 26, 2011 01:09 pm

    My previous comment included a link to some color photos that I tried a while back.

    I followed this tutorial's settings and I believe that I got better results.

    Nikon Camera set at iso 100 f/11 at 5 seconds. Some where at 15-20 seconds and f11.
    I tried f16 but it seems that f11 was the sweet spot.

    here are my results following this tutorials settings.

  • mark August 26, 2011 10:55 am

    Thanks for that guys, I just purchased some old filters and found a variable ND, and some fixed, any tips on using the variable one?

  • Gene August 26, 2011 09:13 am

    I've been shooting Long Exposure for some time now with a B+W -10 filter and love the effect that it provides. Here are few of my images.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 06:29 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 06:25 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 06:04 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 06:01 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 05:54 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • Richard August 26, 2011 05:51 am

    @Wayne, thanks for your answer. I have the D60 and it has the 100 ISO setting. It also has the Low-1 and High-1. Did the 100 ISO disappear on newer models? Seems like a bizarre move from Nikon. Maybe I'm missing something...? Cheers.

  • tony tysinger August 26, 2011 05:18 am

    can you tell me what filter and setting to use on a nikon d5100 thanks

  • Jeff Carter August 26, 2011 03:57 am

    Something I picked up on that I didn't know about is that Nikon's min ISO is 200. I'm a Canon user (no particular reason except that I've used 'em for years and am too invested to change brands) and while I was helping a friend understand his new Nikon, and he must've thought I didn't know what I was doing when I couldn't change the ISO 100. Aha! Can't wait to tell him. Maybe he'll think I know what I'm doing after all. ;-)

  • Wayne August 26, 2011 03:39 am

    @richard, actually you can get to 100 ISO on most Nikon DSLR bodies buy setting the ISO to Low-1. On the other end of the scale you can use Hi-1 ISO 6400 equivalent. I'm not sure why Nikon has chosen not to mark the ISO chart as 100 but that's the deal as far as I know.

  • Teri August 26, 2011 03:18 am

    thank you! That was really neat to watch. I think I need to go exploring for a place to try this.

  • karen rice August 26, 2011 03:01 am

    Larry, I'm assuming that unless you are using a super long exposure to get the silky smooth moving water pictures or city shots with cars/ppl not visible.. (automatic would never choose a long enough exposure during the daylight to accomplish that)

    I've been so frustrated by not being able to get nice waterfall / river shots - this was the reason. Thanks so much...I ordered my B&W ND filter just now...should be here in a couple of days! :)

  • MikeStrom August 26, 2011 02:56 am

    Thanks for a great video! I really have to try this out.

  • Dave August 26, 2011 02:08 am

    I HATE videos. Why can't you just give it to us in text. Ugh.

  • Larry August 25, 2011 11:36 pm

    I'm wondering why you cannot use aperture priority mode or some other automatic exposure mode to let the camera set the exposure? I've done late evening photography in AP mode and have gotten excellent long exposures with my Canon.

  • AtlRogue August 25, 2011 11:19 pm

    sorry for the smallness of the last post...

    Short Exp.

    Long Exp.

  • AtlRogue August 25, 2011 11:16 pm

    Here is one of my long exp shots from PR...

    This first one is a short exp mainly so you can see what it looked like before the long exp.

    And here is the long exp.

  • Adrian August 25, 2011 10:07 pm

    I'm still getting used to mine, only had a few outings with it

  • bogdan August 25, 2011 07:50 pm

    Short but nice and simple video. Thanks!

  • Nick August 25, 2011 07:26 pm

    Good intro video, I recently purchased a Hoya ND400 filter. These pics are my 1st attempt taken mid afternoon.

    ISO 100

  • Jeremy August 25, 2011 03:11 pm

    When I look to order a ND filter... I see specs such as .9, or 1.8 (8x or 64x) - how does one know how to convert this to "10 stop" ???

  • Bob Wood August 25, 2011 01:33 pm

    Thanks! Great tutorial on something I have been working on. Appreciate it guys!


  • KristinaB August 25, 2011 12:35 pm

    Love this! thanks so much for posting this!

  • Dhruv August 25, 2011 12:07 pm

    I just got mine today. Will head out this weekend for some fun :)

  • Ryan August 25, 2011 11:34 am

    Very nice intro to the 10 stop filter. I too have the B/W filter and have enjoyed every opportunity to use it. A few words of caution/advice. Once proper exposure has been determined without the filter, you can either calculate your new shutter speed mathematically or using a chart found online.

    This filter is an extremely valuable tool for any landscape shots involving moving water, and cityscapes when you want to eliminate passersby in the photo. You have to be mindful, however, of everything in your composition. A simple breeze causing a branch or blade of grass to move may have an undesirable effect on your shot. Which is the case with a shot I took this summer, I achieved the desired look with the water and kept the canoe stationary by sitting on it, but the movement of the water also caused some of the shoreline weeds to move which created an undesirable blur.

    And don't forget to leave yourself plenty of time to take your takes at least 10 times as long with the filter.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck August 25, 2011 10:18 am


    I have been experimenting with a Singh-Ray variable ND for a while now and generally like the outcome. Just a word of caution, if you are planning to use this with a Wideangle, Full Frame, you may get some strange banding. It did not have this problem for this shot but when it wnt on a 10-20mm, poor results!

  • kyad August 25, 2011 09:37 am

    how do you determine how long should the shutters need to be open in bulb mode?

  • DLuker August 25, 2011 09:29 am

    @wozza: why do you have to criticize the way the video is presented? Talk about cliches....

  • Ikhwan August 25, 2011 08:56 am

    My Photos with B+W, 10 stop ND. Both ISO 100 on a clear and hot summer day.

  • Ikhwan August 25, 2011 08:54 am

    These are with B+W 10 stop ND, broad day light.

  • Ikhwan August 25, 2011 08:51 am

    These are mine, B+W 10 stop.

    [eimg link='' title='Huddersfield Aspley's Canal Bridge' url='']
    [eimg link='' title='House of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Bridge' url='']

  • Jz August 25, 2011 08:46 am

    I have some color long exposures

  • Wozza August 25, 2011 08:38 am

    Scott, (#1) Why do you have to present the video while holding onto a camera? It's like all those photographers who think it's essential to have a camera in their profile shots. Such a cliché!

  • DLuker August 25, 2011 07:53 am

    Funny that I was *just* thinking about getting the B+W 110...even had it sitting in a shopping cart. I think I'm supposed to get it ;)

  • Ozzie August 25, 2011 07:23 am

    Great photo tip, can't wait to try some out..

  • Punchful August 25, 2011 07:20 am

    Any chance we can see the photo?

    I've tried this too with very high f-stops. I've seen success (in test shots, never anything cool) shooting in the shade, in the afternoon, but I've never been able to do it in full on sunlight.

    I also don't have any ND filters so that may be the problem.

  • Bekah August 25, 2011 07:17 am

    Aaah! This is awesome! I had been wondering how to take long exposure shots in daylight! Tried a few times, but it always turned out a blurry, overexposed mess.

    Is there any way to take long exposure shots in the day-in color?

  • Luciano W August 25, 2011 07:07 am

    Thank you very much!! I enjoyed a lot reading one of your books and now I'm learning a lot with your videos.

  • Doug Sundseth August 25, 2011 07:04 am

    ND filters work just fine with color photos. I use them for mountain stream photography all the time, though my default filter is a 6 stop ND rather than the 10 stop ND used in the video.

    Some Nikon cameras have extended low ISO that goes to 100 but a normal low end of ISO 200 (D5000, for instance). Others have normal ISO that goes to 100 (D7000, for instance). There may be Nikon DSLRs that have a minimum ISO of 200.

  • Richard August 25, 2011 06:52 am

    Why is he saying "the lowest ISO you can get away with on a Nikon is 200 ISO"?
    Why not 100 ISO like the Canon?


  • Bekah August 25, 2011 06:40 am

    Oh. My. Gosh.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! I had been wanting to do some long exposures in day but had no clue how to get a picture that wasn't an overexposed mess.

    Is there any way to do shots like this in color? Obviously not using the filter though, correct?