Long Exposure Photography 101 – How to Create the Shot

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It’s easy to get caught up in the fast nature of photography, technology, instant results, presets, etc. But what happens when you slow your photography right down?

This tutorial will introduce you to the 101s of daytime long exposure photography and share the exact steps you can follow to create your very own long exposure photographs.

01 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Long exposure seascape.

What is long exposure photography?

long exposure photography can be defined in two ways. A traditional description would class it as taking photographs with the intent to deliberately capture the effect of time and display moving objects in a different way to how our eyes are used to seeing them.

But for those of a more literal-mindset, long exposure photography is a brilliant way of photographing atmospheric landscapes, whilst being able to enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit – all at the same time.

Now, if that sounds like your type of photography, I encourage you to settle in and read on.

02 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Slow down

The very nature of long exposure photography is pretty slow paced. It forces you to take your time, which is excellent practice for your framing and compositional skills. And because you literally can’t rush the shot, it makes you think about the light, your subject, and your compositional techniques before you invest several minutes of your time capturing the image.

It’s worth noting that there is no specific shutter speed that defines the crossover from “typical photography” to long exposure photography. It’s not the duration of your shutter speed that defines your image as a long exposure photograph. Instead, it’s your intention to capture moving objects using longer exposure times than necessary that makes it a long exposure photograph.

03 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Generally speaking, long exposure photographs will use shutter speeds that can be measured in seconds or minutes instead of fractions of seconds.

Embrace the blur – add a sense of motion

“So, why should I take a photo using a slow shutter speed? Won’t that make it blurry?”

Yes, precisely. Using a long exposure technique is typically reserved for times when you want to selectively blur objects in your images. Common examples would be to capture flowing water, like the ocean or a waterfall. It’s also used to capture the movement of clouds or stars in the night sky.

04 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Long exposures are great for capturing motion and stillness in a single frame.

A long exposure photograph reveals the passing of time and conveys motion in a way that your eyes are simply unable to see at the time. Long exposures turn clouds into whispers, water into silky-looking glass, and people into otherworldly ghost-like beings.

Long exposure photography allows you to capture stillness and a sense of motion in a single frame. The contrast between these elements creates a sense of mystery and adds a surreal atmosphere to your images. It’s precisely this playful mix of the fluid and the still that makes long exposure photography beautiful, strong, and mildly addictive – or maybe that’s just the cup of tea.

Anyway, here’s what you need to know to take a long exposure photograph.

05 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Blocking out light with Neutral Density (ND) Filters

To capture those ethereal tones and silky motions in your images, you need to use a slow shutter speed. The trouble with using a slow shutter speed during the day is that it lets in a lot of light. So much light in fact, that it will inevitably overexpose your image.

To counter this, you will need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter to make long exposure photographs during the day.

ND filters essentially sit in front of your lens and block out the light. Think of them as a fashionable set of sunglasses for your lens. And because the ND filters reduce the amount of light that hits your camera sensor, you can use shutter speeds up to several minutes long without overexposing your images – even in bright conditions.

06 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Rectangular ND Filters – otherwise known as “rectangular dark glass to block out the light”.

Using an ND Filter

The exact length of your exposure will depend on the lighting conditions and the strength of the ND filter you use. ND filters are typically measured by the stops of light they are able to block out and are usually available in increments of 3, 6, 10, or 16-stops.

Nisi, Lee Filters, and Formatt-Hitech are among the popular brands of ND filters, although there are many others available for a variety of budgets. ND filters come in either a circular format (these screw onto the front your lens) or a rectangular format, which requires the use of an additional filter holder to mount them to your lens.

As a general rule, the more light your ND filter is able to block out, the longer your exposure will need to be to achieve a balanced exposure. And the longer your exposure, the more dramatic the effect will be in your final image.

07 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Rectangular ND Filters attached to camera lens using a filter holder.

Don’t Move

You may be aware that when you use slow shutter speeds, the smallest bit of camera movement can throw your image out of focus and cause it to look a little blurry. This is especially true in long exposure photography.

Given that your camera will be taking several seconds or several minutes (if you’re using a 10 or 16 stop ND filter) to complete a single shot, it’s crucial to ensure it doesn’t move a millimeter during the exposure.

It would be nearly impossible to achieve this by hand. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get your hands on a sturdy tripod. This not only ensures your camera will remain still throughout the entire exposure but more importantly, it frees up your hands, so you can have a sip of your tea whilst your camera is hard at work.

In addition to your ND filters and tripod, here’s a checklist of essential equipment you’ll need for long exposure photography.

Essential Long Exposure Photography Equipment Checklist

08 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Essential long exposure photography gear – particularly #10.

  1. Your ND filters.
  2. A sturdy tripod.
  3. Camera with bulb mode function – bulb mode allows you to take exposures longer than the camera’s default 30 seconds.
  4. Fully charged batteries – try to avoid the heart-breaking moment when your battery cuts out in the middle of an exposure.
  5. Lens – wide-angle lenses work very well with landscapes, seascapes, and architecture photography. If you’re just getting started, any lens that is compatible with your ND filters will work just fine.
  6. A shutter release cable with a locking functionality. Using a shutter release cable (remote trigger) allows you to lock the shutter open without having to touch the camera body. This reduces camera movement during your exposure.
  7. A viewfinder cover – during long exposures, light has a habit of finding its way into your camera through your viewfinder and ruining your images. You can prevent this from happening by using a viewfinder cover, some sticky-tac or even duct-tape.
  8. A dark cloth or hat – perhaps the most peculiar item on this list, however, it’s arguably one of the most important. Believe it or not, light doesn’t just find its way into your camera via the viewfinder. It also leaks in via the lens/body connection and also from the connection points on the side of your camera. Placing a dark cloth or hat over your camera works well to prevent light leaks.
  9. Smartphone – this will serve two purposes. First, it will help you to calculate your long exposure times via a handy long exposure calculator app that I’ll introduce you to shortly. Its second function will be to keep track of your exposure time using a simple timer.
  10. A flask of tea and a selection of biscuits – and you thought I was joking! By far my favorite item on the list. long exposure photography will typically have you sitting in a beautiful spot for several minutes, taking your time and soaking up your surroundings. It’s good for the soul and a creates the perfect opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved treat, particularly on cold mornings!
  11. Chargers, USB cables, and lens wipes. Ideal if you need to recharge your gear or remove your fingerprints from your ND filters when you’re out and about.

Every item on this list plays an important role in capturing a long exposure photograph. Now here’s precisely how you can capture one.

Step 1: Prepare at Home

Unlike a typical day of photography, long exposures don’t afford you the luxury of being able to rattle off 1,200 images in a few hours. Instead, you’re likely to return home with only a handful of good photographs after a day of long exposure photography.

So, before you grab your gear and set off in search of ethereal landscapes and mind-bending architecture, it’s well worth investing your time. Research the location and environment so you can make the most of your time in the field.

Weather Conditions

If you’re planning on shooting a landscape, cityscape, or architecture, take a look at your local weather forecast to see what the cloud cover will be like. Anything over 40% cloud cover should give you ideal conditions to capture a silky sky.

04 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

The low clouds help to create a surreal atmosphere.

Creating a long exposure seascape, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily need a lot of cloud coverage (although, cloudy conditions over water often produce great results). It’s worth researching the water conditions because – like the clouds – the greater the movement of the water, the greater the effect of your long exposure photographs.

10 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Cloudy and stormy conditions create dramatic long exposure photographs.

Location Scouting

Use Google Maps and street view to go for a “virtual walk” around your location. Doing so helps you to familiarize yourself with the area and scout out potential compositions for your images. Essentially, you should know precisely where you are going, how you will get there, where you will park, how much daylight you will have and in which direction you need to walk to ensure you take full advantage of your time and the conditions.

11 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Using Google Maps and Street View can help you with composition ideas before leaving your house.

Prepare Your Equipment

There is nothing more heart-breaking than spending the time to scout out the perfect location and setting up your camera only to realize that you have left your ND filters at home or your camera battery is at 27%. Be sure to charge up all of your batteries (including your smartphone) and pack your camera bag using the equipment checklist above.

Shoot RAW

Set your camera to shoot in RAW format. Long exposures tend to have a blue or magenta color cast caused by the ND filters. Shooting in RAW allows you to easily correct the white balance in post-processing.

12 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Ensure that your camera is set to record your images as RAW files.

Install Long Exposure Calculator Smartphone App

Spending your time trying to calculate what your exposure length should be with a 16-stop ND filter might not sound like much fun to you. Long exposure photography is all about taking time out to soak up your environment and enjoying the views – not solving algorithms.

Installing a “Long Exposure Calculator” app on your smartphone will save you time and make calculating your shutter speed much easier when you’re out in the field. Here are a couple of popular suggestions for IOS and Android users.

It’s a good idea to install the app on your smartphone at home before heading out – just in case you later find yourself in an area with no mobile coverage to download the app.

Step 2: Work the Scene

By the time you’ve prepared your gear, researched the area, and arrived at your location, you’d be forgiven for wanting to unpack and get shooting straight away. Instead, you’ll find that holding off for just a few minutes and allowing yourself to explore the scene often produces more favorable results.

Pick up your camera (without the tripod) and work the shot. Take note of the weather, light, and direction of the water, clouds, lights, or traffic. What are the characteristics of the scene? How does the mood feel? What angle best captures all of this? What are you going to include in your frame?

Step 3: Compose the Shot

Once you have decided on the perfect angle, it’s time to set up your tripod and mount your camera (without the ND filter) to compose and frame the shot. Ensure your tripod is locked in place and your camera is tightly secured. Now is also a good time to attach your remote shutter release cable to your camera.

13 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Secure your camera to your tripod and attach the shutter release cable.

Step 4: Aperture, ISO, and Focus

Switch your camera into Aperture Priority mode and set your aperture to somewhere between f/7.1 and f/11. As a rule of thumb, this range will fall close to your lens’s sweet spot and provide you with a deep depth of field to ensure your image is sharp throughout.

As I’ve mentioned, noise and camera shake can be problematic in long exposure photography. Therefore, adjust your ISO to 100 to minimize the amount of noise and turn off Image Stabilization on your lens to reduce the amount of internal camera shake.

14 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, f/8.0

Focus your lens, ensuring your subject is sharp from back to front. When you are happy with your focus point, switch your lens over to manual focus. This essentially safeguards your focus point and prevents accidental re-focusing when you trigger the shutter.

15 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Switch your lens over to manual focus when you’re happy with your focus point.

Step 5: Test Shot

Use your viewfinder cover (duct-tape or sticky-tac will work) to cover up your viewfinder. This will prevent light from leaking into your camera and ensure that your camera gives you an accurate metering.

16 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Use a Viewfinder cover, duct-tape, sticky-tac or even some cardboard block out light leaks.

With your viewfinder covered and your camera still in Aperture Priority mode, take a test shot to obtain the base shutter speed. It’s the shutter speed from this test shot that will form the basis of your long exposure calculations.

It’s a good idea to review the test shot to ensure the exposure looks good and everything is perfectly in focus. When you’re happy with your test shot, check the metadata and make a mental note of the shutter speed.

17 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Aperture Priority test shot – In this case, the camera’s light metering used a shutter speed of 1/60th. This shutter speed will form the basis of the long exposure calculations.

Step 6: Bulb Mode

Switch your camera mode from Aperture Priority to Bulb Mode and set your ISO and aperture to mirror the exact same settings as your test shot.

18 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Bulb Mode – Set the ISO and aperture to match your test shot.

Bulb Mode allows you to keep your shutter open as long as you hold down your camera’s shutter button. However, standing next to your camera and keeping the shutter button held down with your finger isn’t ideal. Not only would this cause lots of camera shake, it would also make it nearly impossible to enjoy a cup of tea on the job (it’s clear where my priorities lie).

This is precisely why you’ll need a shutter release cable with a locking function. The lock plays the role of your finger and keeps the shutter button held down until you decide to release the lock, thus minimizing the possibility of camera shake.

Step 7: Calculate Your Long Exposure

Enter the shutter speed from your test shot into the long exposure calculator app you installed on your smartphone in step 1.

19 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Enter the shutter speed from your test shot into your Long Exposure Calculator mobile phone app.

You will then need to set the filter density to match your ND filter. For example, if you’re planning to use a 16-stop filter, you would enter 16-stops into the app.

The app will then calculate the length of your long exposure. It’s worth noting here that this time is approximate. It doesn’t account for a change in weather conditions during the exposure or the quality of your ND filters. I use Lee Filters and from experience, I find adding approximately 25% to the app’s suggested exposure time works well.

Step 8: Set a Timer

Load your long exposure time into your smartphone’s timer. You will trigger this at the same time you commence the long exposure to keep track of timing.

20 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

With a 16-stop ND filter and a base shutter speed of 1/60th, The Long Exposure Calculator suggested that I will need an exposure time of 18 minutes. I added approximately 25% to allow for the changing light conditions and created a timer on my phone.

Step 9: ND Filters

Mount your ND filters to your camera. Be careful not to adjust the focus or zoom rings of your lens in the process. It’s a good idea to double check your lens is still set to manual focus.

21 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Mount your ND filters to the camera.

Step 10: Mirror Lock-up

If you’re using a DSLR, enable Live View or the mirror lock-up function. These features lock your camera’s mirror in the up position, which reduces internal camera vibrations when you trigger the shutter.

22 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Live View or the mirror lockup function will prevent camera vibration when you trigger the shutter.

Step 11: Cover the Camera

Carefully cover your camera with a dark cloth or a hat, being careful not to adjust the zoom or focus rings on your lens. This will help to prevent light from leaking into your camera during the exposure.

23 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

Perhaps the most crucial step – use a dark cloth, hat, or an old pair of trousers to wrap around your camera to prevent light leaks.

Step 12: Trigger the Shutter

Now it’s time to create your ethereal masterpiece. The aim here is to simultaneously trigger your smartphone’s timer with one hand (this will keep track of your exposure time) and with your other hand, lock the shutter release cable to hold open your camera’s shutter. If you’re like me, and the mere thought of doing two things at once confuses you, you can simply trigger them one at a time.

All that’s left for you to do at this point is make yourself comfortable and enjoy that cup of tea! Finally! And because you set a countdown timer on your smartphone, its delightful little chime will alert you when it’s time to get up to release the lock on your shutter release cable. Thereby closing the shutter and completing your long exposure photograph.

The Result

So, what do you get after spending a leisurely afternoon in front of a beautiful scene sipping from your thermos and nibbling on a cookie? Well, it’s likely you’ll return home with an image that looks something like this.

24 Long Exposure Photography 101 How to create the shot

23-minute long exposure as shot. 

Finished image – processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Recap

The very nature of creating long exposure photographs is to slow down. It encourages you to step away from the rapid-fire approach and have fun creating something that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see. That’s what long exposure photography is all about.

By now, I’m hoping this article has you reaching for your ND filters and checking the weather forecast – I’m sure you’ll love giving it a try. In case you need a short reminder whilst you’re out in the field, here’s a snapshot of everything we’ve covered.

  1. Research your location, charge your gear and install the long exposure calculator app on your smartphone.
  2. Work the scene to find the best angle.
  3. Set up your tripod and compose your shot without the ND filters.
  4. Switch your camera to Aperture Priority mode. Set your aperture between f/7.1 – f/11.0 and your ISO to 100. Focus in on your subject and set your lens to manual focus.
  5. Cover your viewfinder and take a test shot.
  6. Switch your camera into Bulb Mode and set your aperture and ISO to match your test shot.
  7. Use the long exposure calculator app to calculate your exposure time.
  8. Set a timer on your smartphone.
  9. Mount your ND filters.
  10. Enable live view or your camera’s mirror lock-up feature.
  11. Cover the camera with a dark cloth or hat.
  12. Lock open the camera shutter and trigger your smartphone timer.

If you have any questions, please ask. And it would be great to see your long exposure photographs, so please share them in the comments below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

William Palfrey is a designer and photographer living in Perth, Australia. He teaches beginner and aspiring photographers how to craft beautiful images and develop a unique style using Lightroom and Photoshop. Follow his photography insights over at psitsfun.com or enroll in his new Lightroom and Photoshop courses for free. P.S. It’s fun!

  • Wow!!
    This a amazing idea.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • William Palfrey

    You are most welcome!
    Thanks for stopping by Sofiq 🙂

  • guitardude

    Very nice article, thanks! I downloaded the app as well.

  • Vans_a_joke

    Great stuff. Loved the article and tips.

    Just wanted to send a note to beware of cheap duct tape as it leaves the glue residue behind. Use the good stuff or double or triple layer blue painters tape and you won’t have any issues.

  • Mark Weber

    Excellent article. Well explained in a way that was clear and easy to follow. I downloaded the app as well. Thanks for a great article.

  • Amy May

    As an amateur who has yet to try this method, thisbwas brilliantly explained. Love the step by step and the visuals that go along with it. Well done and definitely a resource I’ll be saving. Thank you for your thoughtful and well presented topic.

  • outofbounds

    Great article! One of the few I have found here that explains the steps and details. Thank you!

  • William Palfrey

    Thank you for giving it a read and taking the time out to leave a comment! Great to hear that the steps are clear. Be sure to share your long exposure shots if you give it a go, I’d love to check them out. 🙂

  • William Palfrey

    Amy! Hi! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by.

    My hope was to create an article that beginners could follow with ease and perhaps more advanced users would also find somewhat useful. So, I’m delighted you were able to understand the article even though your yet to dabble in long exposure photography.

    Just a warning… It’s very addictive! Soon, you may find yourself exploring a valley, hiking a mountain or adventuring through a national park to soak up the views, take a few photos and enjoy a warm cup of coffee… What a terrible way to spend a day… 🙂

    I’d love to see your long exposure photographs when you give it a try and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

    Will

    PS. Hopefully this spoiler alert doesn’t get me in trouble with the wonderful editors here at DPS…. (did i mention that the editors are wonderful?)…. I have put together a follow-up-article that explains how to process long exposure photographs (specifically the final image from this article)… So, if you’re interested, keep an eye out for that over the next few weeks. Thanks again Amy 🙂

  • William Palfrey

    Thanks so much Mark!

    Great to hear the article was easy to follow. Hopefully you picked up some helpful pointers.

    How good are the apps!? Anything that takes the removes the headache of calculating exposures is a winner in my book. Just be sure that your phone has plenty of charge… otherwise you might find yourself counting the fingers and toes of everyone around to calculate your exposure. 🙂

    Thanks again for taking the time out to leave your comments.

  • William Palfrey

    This comment is great stuff!

    Such a helpful insight, thanks for sharing it. Definitely worth spending a few extra cents on decent duct tape. This also keeps your eyebrows intact when you go to use your camera the following day! 🙂

    I’m delighted that you loved the article! Thanks for reading and adding value with your comments. 🙂

  • William Palfrey

    You are more than welcome! Thanks for taking the time out to read it and comment.

    Using the apps to calculate your exposure definitely makes the process a lot simpler – especially when you’re first starting out. Be sure to share your images when you give long exposure photography a try, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

    Thanks again 🙂

  • John O’Farrell

    Very much enjoyed your article.
    One question; does a 4×3 system with an Electronic View Finder suffer from light leakage through the EVF? Looking forward to using my NiSi filters for the first time!

  • Ash Patel

    Great article. Really useful walk through and description of what to do.

  • Shruthi KN

    Excellent Article !!! Very well explained. Thank You 🙂
    Liked the details provided which will help beginners to give it a shot with much ease. Saved it already. Worth reading.

  • Great job in breaking the process down clearly. I do a bit of long exposure photography myself, and ended up building an iOS app for calculating exposures, called LongShot. Thought I would mention it. It is free, and has a few more features than the iOS app you suggest in your article (which is still good). LongShot has an Apple Watch app also, two different modes for calculating exposure, night vision mode, and a built-in timer (so you can just start the timer once you have calculated the shutter speed). Thought it may be of interest to yourself of your readers. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/longshot-long-exposure-low-light-night-astro-photography/id992534319?mt=8

  • Michael Mcgowan

    Very helpful article. One point that I think should be added is the importance of protecting the tripod/camera setup from vibrations. The vibrations will add blur to the elements which should be sharp. I have encountered problems from the wind blowing my camera strap. I also ran into problems when I had my tripod legs sitting in a slow running stream.. Even though the water movement was slight it was enough to ruin almost all of my shots. Lesson learned.

  • William Palfrey

    Hi John,

    I’m delighted you enjoyed the read. Hopefully you picked up a thing or two.

    Now, I can’t say from experience – because I’ve never tried a long exposure with a mirrorless camera – (if there is someone that has given this a go – please feel free to add or confirm my thoughts here). From my understanding, covering the viewfinder on a mirrorless system would add no benefit. The electronic view finder is essentially a screen that sits inside its own sealed compartment behind the optics and would in no way alter the exposure through light leaks.

    I would be super interested to hear about the NiSi filters.. A friend of mine just picked up a set and thinks they are the next best thing. Would you be interested in sharing some of your shots? 🙂

    Thanks again John

  • William Palfrey

    Thanks Ash!

    Great to hear you found the walk through really useful. Appreciate your feedback and thanks for stopping by.

  • William Palfrey

    Hi Shruthi,

    Wow! What fantastic feedback. Thank you!

    Let me know if you have any questions when you give it a go 🙂

  • William Palfrey

    This is a very helpful comment! Thanks for adding your insights Michael 🙂

    Definitely a good idea to secure the tripod. For those wondering how you might be able to do this in windy conditions – Some tripods have the ability to add weight to the centre column through the use of a weight-stabilizing hook. Essentially, you can use this hook to hang your camera bag (or anything weighty) to help stabilise the tripod in blustery conditions.

    @disqus_4rI7tiWCfj:disqus thanks again for contributing

  • Matt Spot

    Instead of hanging the bag on the hook (or simply in case if you don’t have any hook in your tripod) you can put the bag filled with peas or something similar on top of your camera. This way it should be more stable.

  • John O’Farrell

    Thanks for your reply William, I’ll certainly be happy to share some results in due course….. first time attempt at long exposure so I’ll have a few practice runs no doubt! Your article is very timely for me.

  • William Palfrey

    Great stuff, enjoy the process and don’t forget your Thermos 😉

  • Ben

    The problem I find with long exposures is noise, JPEG or RAW.In JPEG one can use in camera noise reduction but that effectively doubles the time for every shot. For Raw one can use post processing to reduce noise but I have not found a very effective solution. Any ideas?

  • William Palfrey

    Hi Ben,

    Great question! It’s probably something I should have included in the original article.

    Noise can be super frustrating right? There are a few tips you can employ to help reduce noise in your long exposures, here’s how I go about it: (and if anyone has anymore suggestions please feel free to add).

    – Shoot RAW
    – I don’t use the in camera noise reduction (I have used this in the past, but I often found that I’d miss an the opportunity to capture another awesome shot because the camera was tied up applying the noise reduction – This is especially true if you’ve just taken an exposure upwards of 10 minutes!)
    – Try to limit the amount of time you use live view (using live view heats up the camera sensor, which in turns creates a little more noise – its surprising how effective this is)
    – To remove the noise in post I have found Lightroom’s noise reduction tools to be very effective. (start by adjusting the colour noise slider upwards to get rid of most of the unslightly green and red pixels, tweaking the detail and smoothness sliders to balance out removing the noise vs keeping detail. You can repeat this process with the luminosity sliders to reduce the luminosity noise.)

    I hope this helps to point you in the right direction, and please let me know how you go 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by Ben

    PS. I have just included a section on noise reduction in my follow-up article on editing long exposures. I think it will be published here around March 11th/12th – It has a little more information that you might find useful. Thanks again Ben 🙂

  • NoLions

    – Low ISO

  • Ben

    Thanks for the helpful response; I’ll try out your suggestions. I have been trying LE photography for about a year now and still have not produced an image I am fully satisfied with. It feels like going back to school and having to learn a whole new set of skills. One thing I have learned is that even more than conventional photography, LE requires a lot of planning and patience.

  • Very comprehensive post! Like someone mentioned in the comment, I’m also concerned about noise caused by long exposure. When I tried 10 minutes exposure for waterfront cityscape at dusk, the amount of noise seen in buildings was totally unacceptable (even with long exposure noise reduction turned on). I guess this is less of an issue for landscape/nature photography, though. Anyway, congrats on this epic post!

  • William Palfrey

    Hi Joey! Thanks for your epic comment! 🙂

    Like you, sometimes I’ll take a look a 8/10+ minute exposure and feel disappointed with the level of noise. However, just like I mentioned to @disqus_4XlwVAXnCh:disqus I have found Lightroom’s noise reduction tools to work wonders. I can definitely recommend giving them a go. Here’s a quick before/after example where Lightroom manages to get rid of some unacceptable noise with relative ease.

    Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a6474a0790f413793066e352a8ef27bb729c8467ae5eca99033dee9d7ce97554.jpg

  • William Palfrey

    You are most welcome Ben. What do you think it is that leaves you feeling unsatisfied with your LEP’s? If you’re willing, I’d love to see your shots, please feel to shoot me an email. 🙂 I completely agree with the back the school feeling! It definitely forces you to slow down and apply a more deliberate and methodical approach as opposed to conventional photography.

  • Thank you for uploading the before/after pic, William! That looks quite decent. Personally, I’ve never used LR (coming from graphic design, I only use PS). When I have a chance to use LR, I’ll see how effective it is with buildings in cityscapes. From my experience, up to 5 minutes is quite okay, but the noise becomes unbearable when going longer than that (maybe I’m a pixel-peeper and a bit too obsessed…).

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