Shooting Long Exposure: Top 3 Essentials You Will Need!


    Long exposure involves keeping the shutter open longer than half a second, enabling the camera to sharply capture stationary elements while smearing, obscuring, and blurring the elements in the photo that are moving.  Depending on how long you leave the shutter open and how fast things are moving, you can blur things out a little or a lot or even make them disappear completely. But before you can take a long exposure photo, there are few essentials that you will need.  Dolica and its team of professional photographers have come together to draft the 3 most important necessities that are essential when taking a long exposure shot and explain why they are important. 

Top Three Essentials for Long Exposure are:

1. Tripod

2. Neutral Density Filters

3. Cable Release or Remote Shutter



    Long exposure involves leaving your shutter open for long periods of time, requiring that your camera is stable. A TRIPOD is necessary to support your camera in the perfect position, for however long you wish--enhancing the sharpness, depth of field, capture quality, and framing position of every photo.  Its stability enables photographers to take excellent long exposure shots, close up shots, landscape, action shots, night shots, sunsets, and portraits just to name a few. It can also support the weight of a telephoto lens and takes only a few seconds to erect and adjust. A tripod is essential to every photographer who wants to take that perfect shot!




    Taking long exposure shots requires leaving the shutter open for a long period of time, allowing light to come in. In order to restrict how much light your camera lens is exposed to, it is best to put on a neutral density filter. A neutral density filter reduces or modifies the intensity of colors of light equally thereby not altering image contrast or sharpness. To our eyes ND Filters tend to appear gray or opaque, but this won't affect how the photo will appear because the camera's metering automatically compensates by letting in more light. It is best to compose your image prior to placing the filter in front of the lens because the viewfinder will appear very dark. 

ND filters allow flexibility when setting the aperture and shutter speed. 

ND filters are specified by their light-reducing ability, where stronger filters appear as darker shades of gray. Some common specifications are summarized below:

* 1 stop has the density of 0.3 ND. 

* 1 stop has the density of 0.3 ND. 





Variable ND Filters and Stacking: Using these, strength of the filter can be adjusted without having to switch filters. But they are often much more expensive. For photographers who are on a budget, you can just stack multiple ND filters when you need to up the strength of reducing light. 

Filter Mounting Systems: No matter which way an  filter is shifted or rotated, the effect will be the same so a filter mounting system is not critical. However, an advantage is quick insertion and removal. 

Step-Up and Step-Down Adapters: The Step-Up and Step-Down Adapters prevent photographers from having to purchase different screw-on sizes for different lens diameters. A photographer can then just purchase an ND filter that fits their largest lens and purchase a "step-up" adapter to fit smaller lens. 



Photo Source: Scott Kelby 

Photo Source: Scott Kelby 

 Professional photographers understand that long exposure shots require the camera not to shake in order to take the best shot. Therefore, a tripod mount and a cable release or remote shutter release are must haves. They allow you to take the photo for different lengths of time without ever having to move the camera to take a photo. 

Cable Release: The cable release plugs to your camera and has a trigger on one end that controls the shutter release.  Average length of cable is 12 feet, but dependent on model and manufacturer, you can buy larger or shorter cables. 

Remote Shutter: The remote shutter release is a wireless remote that also has a trigger on the end that controls the shutter release. Signal on remote reaches an average of ~5 meters/16 feet of distance, but dependent on model and manufacturer, you can buy a remote that can reaches longer distances. 


Below, are some examples of different types of cable releases and remote shutters on the market today. 



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