Long Exposure Photography

Leave the shutter open to create truly imaginative photos

Let Your Imagination Run Wild!

When you leave the shutter of your camera open for over a second, you'll discover an amazing creativity. You can 'slow down' time to create fabulous 'star trails' or 'light trails' like the image on the left. Or light up the night like the dreamy shot on the right.

Use a torch as a light source!

Create remarkable light-trails images using a long exposure.

During The Day Too!

Long Exposure Photography also creates amazing shots during the day. We've transformed the waves into an eerie mist, and given the clouds a surreal and streaky appearance.

Capture ghostly, semi-transparent images of people.

Equipment Needed

To take long exposure photos, you'll need a camera with the ability to keep the shutter open for longer than one second. All dSLR and Bridge cameras will do this, so you're all set to go! If you have a Point and Shoot camera, see if it supports a 30 second shutter speed, or "Bulb Mode". You'll also definitely need a tripod to keep the camera rock-steady.

It's also handy to have a remote shutter release, and, for daytime shots, a neutral density filter. I'll talk more about all the equipment I recommend in the first lesson of the course.

Long Exposure Photography Course Content

  • Day 1: Introduction to long exposures
  • Day 2: Blue hour long exposures
  • Day 3: Near darkness photography
  • Day 4: Star trails and light trails
  • Day 5: Adding light
  • Day 6: Daytime long exposures
  • Day 7: Technical difficulties
  • Day 8: Creative Motion blur

I'll show you how to create remarkable images like this during the course.

In Detail

Create light-filled images during twilight Source

Or fill your photo with circular star trails Source

Use a torch to selectively highlight parts of your photo. Source

Day 1: Introduction to long exposures: I'll start by providing an overview of what you'll be learning during this course. We'll also discuss what extra camera gear is needed to take these kinds of shots, and what optional gear will also help.

Day 2: Blue hour long exposures: "Blue hour" is the time of day that immediately follows sunset or proceeds sunrise. Blue hour is also known as twilight, and it's a beautiful time for photography. It's a great way to get started in long exposure photography because there is still some light to work with.

Day 3: Near darkness photography: You might be surprised to know that even on a moonless night there is always a little bit of light - whether it comes from that town several miles away, the stars above, that little bit of light left on the horizon just before night takes over. We can use that light to take stunning photos in near darkness. And if you leave your shutter open long enough, your camera will show you things that you can't even see with your own eyes. That is the magical part of near darkness photography.

Day 4: Star trails and light trails: Leaving the shutter open for longer gives us an opportunity to capture images with our camera that can never exist in real life. Today, we'll use super-long exposures to create surreal worlds with car headlight trails, and star trails.

Day 5: Adding light: Up until now, we've been limited by the amount of light available in a scene to take our images. Today, I'll show you how you can add light to your scene to deliberately illuminate just one part of a scene. And I'll also explain how to 'draw with light'.

Day 6: Daytime long exposures: Why just confine yourself to long exposures at night? A surreal world appears when you leave the shutter open during daylight! Today, I'll show you how to accomplish daytime long exposure images, and the effect different shutter speeds have on your final image.

Day 7: Technical difficulties: Now you're getting the hang of long exposure photography, it's time to look at some of the problems you can have with this style of photography. I'll provide answers to all the common problems like too much camera shake; leaking light; noisy images; and ND filter problems.

Day 8: Motion blur: Finally, we'll have some fun! We'll use a longer exposure to create 'ghost' photos; 'see' the wind; and construct incredible 'camera toss' images.