The Secret To Long Exposure Photos With Your iPhone


Long exposure photography is not something that we normally associate with the iPhone camera. However, using long exposure is one of the most interesting iPhone photography techniques because it allows us to create unique photos where subjects are blurred out.

Long exposure photography used to be limited to DSLR cameras but it is not anymore, thanks to various iPhone apps specifically developed for this kind of photography.

The following 4 hints and tips will help you find out how to take amazing long exposure photos with your iPhone:

Buy A Tripod Or Monopod

It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting with a DSLR or iPhone – you definitely need a tripod to do long exposure photography. Since this type of photography captures movement in the scene over a certain period of time, you have to make sure your iPhone is steady during the capture.

There are many choices when it comes to tripods and monopods – some of them are more serious than the others. You should always think about what kind of long exposure photography you want to focus on and then choose a tripod accordingly.

In case you’re into nature photography, it’s advisable to get a serious tripod that can remain stable on slippery terrains such as wet rocks.

When it comes to tripod mounts for iPhone, there are many different mounts on the market today but Glif is known to be among the most stable ones.

Finally, if you need an alternative to shutter release for your iPhone photography – there’s a trick! You can use Apple earbuds – just open the camera app and press the volume up button. In this way, you’ll be able to capture photos without touching your phone.

Photo by Courtney Wood on Unsplash

Find The Right App

Technically speaking, iPhone doesn’t support true long exposure photography because you can’t keep the shutter open for a longer period of time. However, thanks to various apps, you can combine multiple exposures of the same scene. This approach simulates long exposure photography and results can be truly great.

The most popular app for long exposure photography on the iPhone is called Slow Shutter Cam. This app is great at capturing motion blur and light trails and it also allows shooting in low light.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Select The Best Exposure Settings

In long exposure photography, it is pretty important to select the right exposure settings. These settings can be found under the exposure icon next to the shutter button. You can select Capture Mode, Blur Strength and Capture Duration. If you’re shooting in optimal light conditions, you should work in Motion Blur mode.

Since every photo is different, there is no rule of thumb for these settings. You should experiment with different combinations of settings until you find something that you really like.

When it comes to capture duration, it works just like shutter speed settings for DSLRs – you can choose something in between 4 and 30 seconds.

Slow Shutter Cam digitally combines many photos to create one long exposure, which means that you’ll be able to get more natural results if you use longer shutter speeds. In this case, the app will take more images and have more material to work with.

However, your capture duration shouldn’t be too long because you may end up with overly blurry images.

Photo by Adrien Ledoux on Unsplash

Choose An Interesting Scene

You can take long exposure photos of pretty much any scene with moving subjects. Cities, nature, sky – there are no limits!

Capturing moving water such as waterfalls can yield wonderful results, but you just have to be really careful with exposure, because it’s very easy to overexpose the white water on sunny days.  Unfortunately, there are no ND filters for iPhone.

In case you want to capture light trails in the city, you need to select Light Trail mode in the exposure settings of the app. In this case, you also need to pick the correct light sensitivity value. It takes some time to understand these parameters, but the app itself is quite clever and it can make your iPhone long exposure photography really stunning, comparable to images taken with a regular DSLR.

Photo by Yen Vu on Unsplash

The app for long exposure photography is a great example of a useful feature that can help those who are into mobile photography achieve something quite unexpected.

Even though there is no point to compare regular and mobile long-exposure photography, it is truly interesting how mobile apps for photography are getting more and more elaborate these days.

About Author

Jasenka is a photographer with a background in web design. You can find out more about her on her website, see some of her newest images at 500px or get to know her better here.

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