Long Exposure Photography for Beginners

Long Exposure Photography for Beginners

all my buttons are buttoned I think I'm ready to do this long exposures are my favorite type of photo in the entire world they're a super easy way to capture movement and take a really impressive looking photo so today I'm going to walk you through how to do it if you don't know what a long exposure is first here's some example shots I've taken and second allow me to explain a long exposure is when you open up the camera shutter for a long period of time it could be one second it could be ten hours but basically you let in more light and as a result all the moving objects in the photo blur out we'll all the stationary objects stay sharp just start you're going to need two things one a DSLR with manual settings and two a sturdy tripod if you don't have a tripod you can actually get away with using a phone a wallet or a shoe to stabilize the camera but let me tell you it's a lot easier with the tripod so if you don't have one I'll actually put a link down below to the tripod I'm using it's a great drop button we're going to start with something super simple cars which emit a nice long beautiful light trail for best results window it's dark outside because the cars headlights will pop out way more so once it's dark go to a location where cars pass pretty frequently because the process requires a bit of trial and error and it sucks having to wait 20 minutes for another car to pass now that you're on location it's time to start shooting to have your tripod and follow these steps step 1 composition turn on your camera and start thinking about how you want to frame the shot and where you want the cars to enter an exit frame you want them to be in frame for a short period of time maybe be perpendicular so they're passing you like this you want them to be in the frame for a longer period of time maybe be facing the cars in the same direction so you see where they enter and they're in frame all the way until they're out of sight another good way to do this is if there's a median in the middle of the street stand in the median and then you can see them coming and then going for way way way long for this you really just have to be creative and play around till you find something that works don't be afraid to try something weird because weird can make for really great photos step 2 timer mode when you take a photo and press the shutter button it actually shakes the camera a little bit and this is an issue for regular photo because it takes it fast enough but for long exposures you'll actually be able to see that shaking and it will look as good so what we're gonna do is turn on a 2 or 3 second time or whatever your camera allows maybe it's 10 seconds maybe it's 5 just so you can press the shutter button get your hands out of the shot have a steady photo you don't know how to turn on cameras timer I wish I could go over that but I can't because all cameras are different so just Google your cameras name and then turn on timer and I'm sure you'll find something step3 camera mode if you're new to photography and don't know your camera too well I recommend trying shutter priority mode or TV on a Canon and this is basically where you change the shutter speed or how long it takes to take the photo and it does everything else for you if you're a little bit more comfortable with your camera I recommend Manning up and go into full manual mode which is how I do it basically you control all the camera settings and don't worry I'll walk through it you also get more props as a photographer for doing it all yourself so step 4 set your shutter speed another word for this is exposure so if your exposure don't worry it's the exact same thing now when you're setting your shutter speed think about how long it's going to take for your subject pass through the photo and adjust accordingly since we're shooting cars I'm going to set mine around 5 seconds which will allow for a number of cars to pass through and make for a really nice looking shot for the next two steps those of you shooting in shutter priority mode you can ignore me but if you're shooting a full manual listen up step 5 say your ISO ISO is how sensitive your camera is too late the higher the ISO number the brighter and grainier your shots going to be so for long exposures we're gonna minimize graininess and set our ISO at 100 step 6 set your aperture now all lenses have little hole in it the lens in light called the aperture ring the smaller aperture number say F 3.5 the more light you're letting in and the bigger the hole you have which makes the photo brighter the bigger the aperture number the smaller the ring is say f-22 which lets in less light and makes for a darker photo something else aperture affects is the depth of field the really small aperture numbers like F 3.5 make for really shallow depth of field which is when one thing is in focus and everything else in different planes is blurry whereas f-22 everything is going to be a little bit more InFocus naturally does the stylist decision you have to make shallow depth of field can look awesome for stuff like portraits for a long exposure but also maybe you want to have everything in focus so it's really up to you ISO shutter speed and aperture all affect the amount of light your camera lets in so you have to counterbalance them with the perfect photo so what I like to do is work my way backwards and decide what's most important I think most important thing in this photo is shutter speed so we're going to set that first at 5 seconds and then next is the ISO because we don't want a granny shot so we're going to set that at 100 and then lastly aperture so for this aperture comes last because we really care about shutter speed and ISO so we're gonna actually tweak the aperture around the other two keeping the other two consistent until we have a perfectly lit shot so it might be seven point one it might be a leaven just play with that until you get a perfectly lit shot but for some shots aperture might come first like if you want really shallow depth of field for a portrait so it really just depends on what you're shooting step seven focus the shot think about what's the most important part of the photo and focus on that maybe it's the car maybe it's the sign step eight then you're going to go back to manual focus so when you press the shutter button doesn't try and focus again and screw up the whole shot step nine press the shutter button to take the photo and immediately remove your hands so you don't shake the camera step ten once you have all of these settings figured out in a decent-looking photo try experimenting try moving the camera somewhere else try doing a longer 30-second long exposure maybe even try zooming in while taking a long exposure which makes for a really really cool effect once you have a great shot lined up with perfect lighting perfect composition perfect everything you don't want to take that photo four or five times the exact same position and this is because the cars are always changing so sometimes you might have one tiny little car pass through and sometimes you might have ten ginormous monster trucks pass through which make for totally different light trails and you'll find it'll get drastically different photos every time here are a few of my favorite photos from shooting in Chinatown New York that night and that's that and now I want to see your favorite photos so if you liked this tutorial and went out and got something awesome hosted on instagram tag me at Josh katz and use the hashtag Josh Katz photos so I can see your awesome work because you got something that you're super stoked on that's going to make me so so happy last and final step leave a comment down below letting me know what you liked about this tutorial and what could have been improved I've never actually done a photo tutorial before so I could really use your advice and let me know what my next photos tutorial should be maybe you want to know how I edit my photos in Lightroom maybe you want to know how I take my 360 panorama just let me know if you want to see more of my photos you can follow me on Instagram at Josh Katz or check out my photo portfolio there's gonna be a link right here thank you guys so much for watching I really really appreciate it and I will see you eventually

25 thoughts on “Long Exposure Photography for Beginners”

  1. Hyped to announce that I've dropped a comprehensive beginner photography course! It's over 9 hours of brand new content and it covers shooting, editing in Lightroom, buying the best gear, and marketing your work online. Check it out here! http://bit.ly/katzcourse

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  2. I like how you stick to the instructions and how you articulate the steps and not just talk about yourself like many others do.Thank you!

  3. Hi, I'm willing to buy a tripod. What important things do you think I should consider about buying one.?

  4. Awesome video, I’m relearning photography and videography. The way you explain everything was awesome.

  5. thanks. I really liked the 2 second timer tip. when i saw the option on my camera, i thought that it seemed odd but ya, for sure

  6. Thank you for keeping it simple, but explaining each detail and setting in a way that is easy to understand! I’m going to try some long exposure photos this week!

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