Long-exposure photography captures one element that conventional photography does not: time. Long exposure photography is taking photographs by using longer exposure times than needed to obtain a correctly exposed photograph, either during daylight with the use of filters or else during the night with or without the use of filters, with the deliberate intent to create an effect on any moving object that is typical for long exposure photographs.
Effects like blurred skies with streaks of clouds, smoothed out the water like if it was frozen, blurred ghostly people, star trails, moon trails and light trails, using an exposure time that is deliberately prolonged to achieve this effect.
The most important thing when you are trying to make a long exposure photo is having with you a tripod. That is because you have to consider your shutter will stay open for a few seconds and you cannot hold your camera steady on your hands.
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Another thing that you will need for long exposure photography is an ND Filter. A Neutral Density Filter or ‘ND Filter’ is a filter that reduces or modifies the intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light equally, giving no changes in hue of color rendition. It can be a colorless (clear) or grey filter. The purpose of a standard photographic neutral-density filter is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens. There are different types on the market that you can use with different stops. The bigger stops will help you to have the shutter speed open for many seconds.I use an ND filter with 8-stops.
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To make a stunning long exposure photo you will need also to use your bulb mode in your camera. To achieve that you will need a remote shutter release so that you can lock the shutter open for a given period of time. You will most likely need a way of calculating how long to leave the shutter open for. For example, if an exposure without the filter is ¼ s, when using a 10-stop filter it becomes 0.25 s x ~1000 = 250 s, 250 s / 60 = ~4 minutes) but in others it can be more difficult, and as the light conditions can change pretty quickly, a phone app (such as NDCalc for android/iOS) can come in very handy.
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Choose the right conditions. To have an ideal long exposure photo you have to find a good subject like moving clouds, waterfalls a seascape or shooting stars. Also, you have to take care of the light conditions. I prefer to shoot around sunrise or sunset when the light is not so strong and the contrast in the sky is much better.
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Long exposure without filters can also achieve if for example you want to shoot at night. When you want to do that you have to increase your ISO, but you have to consider that taking photos with high ISO will increase your noise.
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Born in Volos in 1980. As a kid, I was filled with many concerns about life. Sports lover, naturalist and a big fun of travelling. I am a multimedia developer and in the past few years I became passionate about photography and photo editing. My purpose is to offer the world the best images one can shoot and edit. I believe that everybody is an artist. It only takes for one to believe in oneself
Great article, Thrasivoulos…
Nice and clear wrighting Thrasivoulos