How to take long exposure shots

by daisy
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If you are an amateur photographer and are looking to brush up your skills, one area you will start to look into will be long exposure photography. Long exposure photographs are quite common among more skilled photographers as they produce beautiful pieces. Don’t let that put you off, with a good camera and a few tips you will be taking excellent long exposure shots in no time.

What do you need?

To take a long exposure shot you will need a tripod, a cable release and a bulb facility. Most mid-range cameras will have these features and many beginner cameras too, so ask about them in a shop before you buy.

The tripod is required to keep the camera still as any movement during a long exposure will ruin the shot. The cable release is needed for the same reason, if you try to press a button on the camera you will likely move it slightly, ruining the picture. Finally, a bulb facility is a must-have. The bulb facility lets you choose when to close the shutter enabling you to take long exposure shots greater than 30 seconds.

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What is the effect?

Long exposure shots are great for any landscape picture. Ensure there is something unmoving in your picture with a background that is changing or moving. Typical long exposure shots involve a background with traffic, clouds, or water. It effectively removes the texture on these items and can make a busy ocean look like smoke, a cloudy sky look like silk and traffic look like blurring lights. If you can take a picture like this, juxtaposing the background with a prominent image in the foreground (e.g. a tall building, a mountain or a boat) then you can create a beautiful contrast.

Final tips

The long exposure picture is great at sunset as the light exposure is not too high. You should ensure that the lighting difference between the foreground and background is not too great. The only other tip is to not get too obsessed with these pictures. They look great but they don’t make you a great photographer. It is a nice technique but once learned you should only use it at the right moment. Overusing it can really ruin the appeal of such captures and stunt your growth as a photographer.

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