Long exposure photography has been getting more popular by the day. I keep seeing images pop up on my news feeds all over social media that were created using long exposure so I decided to give you a few tips and when you should/can use long exposures.

If you don’t know anything about long exposures, it’s basically where you set your shutter speed at a slower time, like 5 seconds for exampled, and just let the camera do it’s work.

There are five different ways you can use long exposures and they’re not hard to do but will take some practice, just like everything else.

First, let me tell you what you will need to pull these of correctly:

Camera and Lense – brands and types don’t matter, it’s all personal preference.

Tripod – this is a must for these kinds of shots, or you can just set it somewhere where it won’t move AT ALL but a tripod is your best bet.

Remote – this comes in handy because when you press the shutter release with you finger, it moves the camera slightly causing a blurry image.

Light source – This one is only needed for #2 in the examples below.

Let’s get into it!

1. Create light trails of passing cars

This one is what I have been seeing most which is why it’s the first one. You have seen those images of a car, which is well lit and then behind it you can see some light trails as if it was somewhere in the future.

You can even capture some light trails of the car you’re shooting. It won’t be as easy but it’s definitely worth it. This one, you might have to try a couple times before you get it to even look decent. But hey, you know what they say, “practice makes perfect” so just keep practicing and I promise you will get the hang of it and be a pro in no time!

Bugatti Vitesse

2. Create awesome light paintings

How many times have you seen an image of a car that was well lit but everything around it was dark? You can accomplish that same look by using long exposures and a light source to paint the car.

Basically, just set your shutter speed to anything more than 5 seconds and start painting the car with your light. When the camera is done doing it’s thing, you will see how only that certain spot is lit and everything else is dark.

For more information on Light Paintings and exactly how to do them, check out this tutorial > How To Shoot and Edit a Light Painting


3. Using automotive rigs

This is something I have yet to try but only because rigs are so expensive! I have, however, done extensive research on automotive rigs and how everything works.

Because of my research, I know that a slow shutter speed (or long exposure) is needed to achieve this look.

In order to capture the motion in the image you have to use a slow shutter speed, otherwise the car won’t look like it’s moving at all.

Rolling XB

4. Following a car for panning shots

Similar to the automotive rigs, you have to use a slow shutter speed for panning shots if you want to capture the motion.

Panning shots are basically rolling shots but from the side where you follow the car with your camera making sure the focus is on the car. This keeps the car in focus since it’s in the same spot in the frame and blurs the other parts since they’re constantly changing throughout your panning.

IMG_2502 Export.jpg

5. Remove people from the frame

This is mainly for car meets but can also work for other shots if there are people in your way.

As we all know, people move constantly but unfortunately they always get in the way of our shots.

Using a slow shutter speed, you can eventually remove all the people from your images because whatever is stationary in the frame will stay in the frame but whatever is moving and constantly changing, that will either be completely removed or just blurred out causing a ghosting effect.

If you see that the people look like ghosts, just take another long exposure and combine the two in post-processing to remove the ghosting effect of the people.

Ford Focus ST

That’s all folks

Well, there you have it, the five reasons why you should start doing long exposure shots: light trails, light paintings, automotive rigs, panning shots, and removing people.

If you don’t know how to do any of those, don’t worry because everyone starts somewhere and I promise you won’t get the right outcome the very first time you try it, but if you keep practicing you will understand how everything works and eventually become a pro!

Practice makes perfect.

What other ways have you used long exposure before? I’d love to here your input down below in the comments.

If this was helpful in any way please click the share button so we can help even more people!

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