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Long Exposure, The Short Way

4 Top Tips For Long Exposure

No longer do we have to think of a photograph as a still image, to breathe more life into our images we try new, savvy, creative ways and Long Exposure is one of them. The beauty of it all lies in motion, running water such as a river or even a waterfall for the more adept will look like a beautiful mist when using Long Exposure. Lighting in motion such as cars appear as beautiful lines and streaks, the top and bottom of it is Long Exposure is wonderful and here are 4 tips to sharpen your long exposure sword.

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1. Stability Is Key

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Whilst there are 744 different ways to hold a camera, standing, sitting some even lying down, when it comes to Long Exposure the only way to go is either have a very sturdy tripod and surface or set the camera down somewhere stable where there will be no movement at all. Because the photographs are taken over a period of a few shorts seconds any movement will mean the destruction of your shot. Always remember that no tripod means no safety, god knows what could happen so stay safe but keep the camera still.

2. Be Weary Of Shutter Release

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Manual shutter release can cause an unwanted shake whilst trying to create long exposure, sometimes even with a tripod so to be 100% safe there are a few tricks to employ to ensure guaranteed shutter stability.

The first is to set a 2 second delay on the camera so by the picture is taken the shutter has already snapped thus removing any unwanted movement.

The second technique is to purchase a remote shutter release. These are really useful as they can be connected either via a cable or wireless so when the shutter does snap you are ensuring that there is no wobble, and no wobble means no blur right?


3. Steer Clear From Auto Focus

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Now don't get me wrong, auto focus is fantastic in 96.7% of situations but not Long Exposure. When you are working in an environment that is considered "low light" the auto focus can sometimes struggle focusing. Remember that the camera is still so most of the shot will also remain still. Use manual focus to hone in on the perfect shot and then let the camera do the rest.

Also bear in mind that if you are using ND filters they can cause the same problems.

The best solution i have found is using a light and setting the focus mode to auto focus, once the picture is crisp turn off the light and begin shooting. This guarantees that once the light is off the focus will remain the sharp.


4. Use Aperture

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By closing the aperture down, you are basically enabling the camera to shoot longer. If the aperture is too small though then you will see a dramatic loss of sharpness and this is due to diffraction.

in 90% of cameras the best aperture to go for is around 5.6 - 8. Have a play around within these ranges to find out what works best for you. You will find that usually any images outside of this aperture will come out fuzzy or blurry. Remember this is Long Exposure and the elusive is always beautiful.


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