Long Exposure Photography Tips


When I shoot Street images I use the ISO setting to get really fast shutter speeds. I want to freeze motion and capture one off relationships between the elements in the shot. At the other end of the scale I’m attracted to using extremely long exposure times. A few years back I used to use a 10 stop filter during daylight hours to get exposure from 30secs to around a minute. This gave some pleasing results but with clouds especially there was still too much structure to the final shot. through trial/ error and research I ended up using a 16 stop filter to give exposures of 120 -240 secs. In the interim I’ve concentrated on Street and Portraits photography. Whilst having a clear out I found my 16 stopper and made some images using my Fujifilm X-T1 and 18-55mm Fujinon Lens.


I am slightly conflicted about this style of image as its easy to emphasise the effects of the process, rather than the subject. Bearing this in mind I’ve tried to make the subject stand out with the ephemeral aspects as a compliment to the main subject. As an Art History graduate I’ve always been interested in architecture so have used the modern Duncan Rice library Building at Aberdeen University as my first image. This was shot at 28mm, ISO200 F8 with a Shutter speed of 125 Secs. The wind speeds were high and although it wasn’t too bright I knew I’d get some decent contrasts due to this wind speed. I usually take a test shot in Aperture priority mode and aim for F8 or F11. There are various tables online to show you the 16 stop setting derived from the initial test shot. I’ve got a table stuck inside the holder for my filter, but you soon get a feel for it.

The second image was taken on a much brighter day as you can see in the shadows compare to the first one. As It was brighter I dropped the aperture to F13 at ISO200 with a Shutter speed of 160 secs. The cafe on the left is an Aberdonian Institution, and I liked the Ferris wheel behind it for scale. In this shot there are some ghostly figures of people at tables. The transient passers by won’t register on the sensor but anyone sitting or standing for a period of time will. In the first image people were moving quickly and didn’t show up. If you are interested in this genre of Photography I have another post in it here. As with all Photographic styles practice, and try things out in different weather conditions. Any questions or comments as always welcome.


  1. […] is the third and final post on Long Exposure Photography you can fin the first two here and here. The V and A Museum Dundee opens soon so I decided to take a look at it along with the […]


  2. […] 200, F11, 1/500 sec. The reason I’ve included this is to illustrate the point I made in the first post regarding subject. Now I could have used a longer exposure time in this instance but I quite liked […]


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