Long exposure meaning

It is mostly used to film the movement – for example, a moving object in the photo is blurred and the background remains sharp. The opposite can be achieved as well when the camera follows the object.

How to take a long exposure photo

Here’s a few tips for you to get started:

  • Firstly, since taking a photo with a slow shutter speed takes more time, the support is necessary to prevent camera shaking so you won’t get a blurry shot. Of course, you can use any means available, like a table, but it’s better to have a specific device called a tripod. In addition to support, it will provide a consistent point of view.
  • Secondly, you should adjust the sensitivity and shutter speed settings accordingly. For example, set ISO to 100 or 200. In case the object in the frame doesn’t appear well enough, the sensitivity can be slightly increased – up to 400 ISO units.

    If you need a slower shutter speed, you can use the “B” BULB mode, which is found in almost all modern cameras. While you’re using this mode, the shutter is open for as long as you hold the shutter button, so you control the exposure time yourself.

    BULB mode is mainly used for shooting at night in very low-light conditions. Shooting in this mode is only possible with a tripod and a remote shutter release, otherwise you will get the blurry image due to shaking.

  • Lastly, to make the effect even stronger and more noticeable, you can use black and white, sepia or solid color filters. There’s also a neutral density filter which will help you to take long exposure photos during daylight.

These options apply to cameras, but did you know that you can take pictures with long exposure on an iPhone as well? Here’s a little tutorial:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Activate the “Live Photos” function in the settings.
  3. Take a photo of a moving object. Use a tripod or try to hold still for about 2-4 seconds before and after taking the picture.
  4. Next, go to the “Photos” application and open the captured photo.
  5. Then swipe up to open the Live Photos effect settings.
  6. Choose the “Long exposure” effect.

Note that you need an iPhone with Live Photos feature (iPhone 6s and later) and iOS 11 or later to do this.

Long exposure photography ideas

Taking photos of landscapes with this technique is most common since the nature in the picture appears in a completely different form. It’s especially noticeable when taking pictures of the night sky – depending on your settings, you can get an exceptional result, like stars that turned into lines.

Water shots also look amazing – be it rain, waterfall or sea waves on the beach, with long exposure they gain a beautiful misty texture.

You can also shoot artistic or dynamic portraits – if a person or people move during shooting, it creates an interesting effect of motion on the final result.

Shots of streets are popular too – you’ve definitely seen photos of the city at night where car’s headlights become strips of light along the road.

Of course, these are just examples. You can experiment and take pictures of anything you want using this technique and make a mundane object look interesting in the photo.