Knowledge in photography is improved and enhanced by the time passing by. New discoveries and techniques appeared and used in a smartest way nowadays. Artistic and creative minds started to make the field of photography more interesting and meaningful. Fine arts and photography is combined to form a good mixture of arts. As the combination of two, techniques for photography became wiser and smarter. Images, produced by the art combination of the two and the creative and artistic minds of the photographer, are now became logical puzzle to the viewers.
Long exposure photography is one of the smartest techniques discovered by the past photographers. It involves the use of long-duration exposure in order to capture the stationary elements of the images in motion while blurring, smearing or obscuring. The path of the moving light will be more clearly visible. It was also called time-exposure photography because longer-exposure time is required to correctly obtain posture either during daylight or at night. It is about visualizing the invisible with the use of extended exposure in order to reveal to the eye what is the visible to the mind’s eye only. In addition, it is like a philosophy of art to move away from the reality.
Here’s a set of long exposure photography tips to help both beginner and professional photographers on capturing dream-like pictures using this technique.
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Early bird setting it up
Set up first all the materials and equipments you will use especially when you are going to photograph a night long-exposure images. Some photographers will go to their photoshoot locations at night without knowing that it will be more difficult if they will set up their equipments. They bring small flashlights so that they can have at least small source of light. Be an early bird in preparing and setting up the things you will use.
Adjust your camera settings and choose the composition you want while the sky is still bright. Prepare it all before the night comes so that you will not be able to have trouble. If you are done preparing and setting early in your photoshoot hours, take a rest for a while and wait for the time you will conduct your photoshoot.
Use of cable release
Shaking of hands and vibrations will only ruin the perfect exposure photography. Some devices like remote control, self-timer and cable release will help you from having a shaky one. This will give you time to distance yourself from your camera in order to avoid your unnecessary movements that can affect your photograph. For a sharp long exposure images, delicate balance is required especially if you have unsteady hands.
Sturdy tripod is required
The use of tripod is always required to any kind of photography. However, a sturdy one is very significant when working in Long Exposure Photography. Vibrations and unnecessary camera movement are the best enemies of this photography.
Some photographers find that the use of carbon-fibre tripods is better in soaking up the vibrations than the use of metal tripods. Find a sturdy tripod that will lock at end when it is stand on a solid rock. As well as, when it is place in a sand or wet ground. Bear in mind that soaking and trembling may ruin your long-exposure photography.
Small aperture is suggested
Start with the lowest ISO available in your camera then use a small aperture for your lens. It will give a benefit to your captured images. Depth-of-Field will increase and create more like sharpen images. The small aperture, which is f-16 up to f-22, will be more helpful in finding the pinpoint source of the light.
Reduce the expanding amount of noise
The longer the time that the exposures have, the big is the chances to increase also the noise in the image. It is one of the bad side effects of using long exposures. Moreover, noise appears when we are shooting in poor-light places. DSLR commonly have a feature called NR or Noise Reduction in order to reduce the noise that may appear in the image.
Well, the use of NR will increase the time of exposure. Instead of having 3 minutes of exposure, you will end up to 20 minutes to picture out the posture you want, Some camera have a feature of reducing of noise also. However, if it does not exist on your camera, better to use softwares that will help you in this kind of problem like Photoshop and NIK software’s DFine noise reducing tool. You can minimize also the noise if you capture RAW files that can be easily manipulated in any post-production.
Longer shutter speed for unreal factor
The longer the shutter speed it takes, the more the chances to show unreal factors. It will take more blurry and surreal moving objects. The longer the shutter speed, the lessen the details it will show.
Try to make light trails
If you want to try something new in your photograph, make light trails. This will help you to show your artistic and creative side. Photograph a moving object with long shutter speed; it will create a dramatic special effect or subtle indication of motion.
Paint with light, use your flashlight or any movable light source to create images and objects in the air or you can also trace the edges of objects. Draw objects in air just like how you draw objects in paper. Setup your camera into long shutter speed or long exposure in order to record the light trails you’ve made.
Neutral Density Filter for daytime
Long exposure photography is commonly used at night wherein darkness will help the source of light be easily recognized. However, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use long exposure photography at daytime. Add ND filter or neutral density filter (or an extreme 10-stop ND filter) to help you reduce the light entering the lens and increase the shutter speed. The long-daytime exposure photographs may achieve motion-blurring effects and turn the humdrum images in having something real effects.
Longer exposure for skies
Skies often have a longer exposure than other objects. Start from having 30 seconds then try 60 seconds and 120 seconds. Mostly of the cameras only have a limit of 30 seconds then you’ll need to set up your camera into f-stop underexposed in figuring out the for the correct posture of 60 or 120 seconds.
Remember that in every f-stop you underexposed, you double the time of your exposure. So for 60 seconds, adjust it in one f-stop and exposed it in 60 seconds. Then in 120 seconds, adjust it into two f-stop and exposed it in 120 seconds. Once you put your camera into bulb mode, look at your watch to time the 60 and 120 seconds. For clear explanation, this bulb mode requires the held down of the shutter speed in entire exposure.
White Balance Manually
Do not ever try to turn in auto white balance or else, you want to take a risk in rendering the colors correctly. Use a grey card in customizing your white balance to match it with the tricky color that is already given and often given in low light, long exposure photographs. If you fail in customizing the white balance, just use the white balance preset.