Long exposure photography, when done well, can produce among the most visually effective images a photographer can make. And while it is possible to spend thousands of dollars on gear to produce such images, that is by no means a necessity. Today we're going to go over a couple of gear setups that you can use to get your own long exposure images.
This list is inspired by Kent Dufault's extremely popular guide to long exposure photography that is on special for Light Stalking readers until next Monday. Grab it now.
Long Exposure Photography Without Spending a Cent Beyond Your Camera and Lens
- Claim Your Free Camera Craft Cheat Sheet
Print it out and keep it for when you really need it - when you're out shooting!
- plastic bag of sand
Yup, that is pretty much all you need to get started and there is absolutely no reason that this gear setup cannot result in some amazing images.
If you haven't guessed what the plastic bag of sand is for, it's simply a slightly maleable surface to rest your camera on so that you can mount it in the perfect position. Use two plastic bags if you're worried about the first bag breaking and getting sand everywhere. You can actually buy proper sand bags for photography, but there is no real need unless you're getting really serious about using sand bags as a stabiliser.
Of course, you will need to shoot in low light (think night time) and use the timer on your camera to release the shutter (to avoid your hands shaking the camera and blurring the shot). What you're looking to do here is to really lower your ISO (think 100 ISO) to lower noise and keep that shutter open for at least a second (and sometimes much much longer).
This setup, if you can find the right vantage point to shoot, is perfect for the classic car brake light shots that are so popular online. Just remember, the classic guidelines to composition still apply to long exposure so consider your framing before you locate your camera.