What Is Long Exposure Photography?

Regardless of your camera and lens, you might not be able to capture bright images in low light. If you’re capturing real estate interior photos in poorly-lit conditions, you can increase the exposure time to allow sufficient light to reach the camera sensor. So, what is long exposure photography? 

What Is Long Exposure Photography?

Long exposure photography, also referred to as time-lapse or slow-shutter photography, is a photography technique that increases the exposure time by slowing down the shutter speeds to create a passing time effect. It helps to trace the time pattern and render different elements aesthetically pleasing, such as smooth dynamic elements or light trails. 

It also helps capture brighter images in low light or when using a narrow aperture. The moving objects in the photos appear blurred and trailed, while the stationary elements remain still and sharp. The following are some of the photography gear and camera settings to use for the best long-exposure photography results.

Mount the Camera on a Stable Tripod 

Keeping in mind that long exposure might take several seconds to minutes, any camera shake during this time might irredeemably blur the subject. It’s therefore advisable to use a sturdy and stable tripod to eliminate the chances of camera shake.

You can also consider attaching an additional weight to the tripod or hooking it to the ground or a firm object using the center column hook to improve its overall stability, especially when shooting in windy conditions. 

Use the Manual Focus 

Since you don’t want any camera movements, it’s advisable to manually focus on the subject and then leave the camera on the tripod before shooting. Typically, this eliminates any out-of-focus issues and the related autofocus noise. However, you can use the autofocus mode when taking a test shot.

Use a Remote Shutter Release

There are higher chances that you will introduce a camera tremor when pressing the shutter button to start and end the exposure. A remote shutter release helps remotely trigger the camera’s shutter through a cable or wireless connection. 

Usually, this ensures you don’t physically touch the built-in shutter button of the camera. If you don’t have a remote shutter release for your camera, you can eliminate the risks of tremors using the delayed shutter feature, which gives you time to remove your hand from the camera before it starts capturing.

Attach the Neutral Density Filters

The neutral density filters are darkened filters that help to minimize the light entering the camera lens. In most cases, you will only need to use these filters when using long exposures in good ambient lighting, as the slow shutter speed can lead to overexposure. 

Keeping in mind that it’s challenging to focus with the darkened filters attached, it’s advisable to first focus on the subject and then attach the filters. Ensure you properly fit and tighten the filter on the lens, so there is no gap between the lens and the filter.

However, you need to be careful when sliding the filter into the holder or when screwing it on a low light lens for Canon to avoid accidentally panning or tilting the camera or turning the manual focusing ring. 

Long Exposure Photography Tips

Even with the right camera gear, other factors such as composition and type of subject can affect your long exposure photography results. The following lighting and aperture setting tips can significantly improve your long-exposure photography results. 

  • If your camera has a bulb mode option, consider using it so you can exceed the 30 seconds shutter speed limit.
  • Remember to lock your focus and tripod before attaching the filters to avoid accidentally losing the focus or composition.
  • Set the camera to Aperture Priority mode or Manual mode so you can set the right aperture for the best depth of field depending on the type of subject you are shooting.
  • It’s advisable to take a test shot, zoom in on the image, and preview to ensure the focus is sharp and the exposure is good
  • Since you are using slow shutter speeds, it’s advisable to set the camera to base ISO to avoid overexposure. However, you can increase the ISO if you are shooting interior photos in low-light conditions.

How Can I Determine the Correct Shutter Speed for Long Exposure?

You can determine the correct shutter speed for long exposure by calculating the number of added stops. For instance, if you increase the ISO from 100 to 600, you can reduce the shutter speed from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

What Is Making My Long Exposure White?

Your long exposure is white due to overexposure, resulting from too much light reaching the camera sensor. You can prevent this by adjusting other members of the exposure triangle, such as ISO and aperture.

Final Thoughts

Long exposure photography is a great technique that can help you capture brighter real estate photos in low light conditions or brighter landscape photos when using narrower apertures. Use a stable tripod to minimize the camera shake and then use slower shutter speeds.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment