Long Exposure Photography Made Easier Using Shutter Priority Mode

Oct 17, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

Oct 17, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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long-exposure2Long exposure photography doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. As Matt Granger shows us in the video below, you can still capture a variety of great long exposure shots using shutter priority mode with basic equipment. With just your DSLR and a tripod (you should always buy the nicest quality tripod as your budget allows) you can experiment with light painting, motion blur, and more. Add a set of neutral density filters to your kit and you’ve opened up a whole new set of doors.

Take a look as Granger explains several different styles of long exposure photography and how you can practice them on your own.

YouTube video

Three Tips For Determining Shutter Speed

There are a few key components to take in mind when setting up for a long exposure shot:

  • Exposure – Obviously, your shutter speed will long, so you may need to compensate all that extra light coming in by stopping down your aperture and ISO. For shooting in bright conditions, you may need to consider using a neutral density filter to help block out some of the light, thus avoiding an overexposed image.
  • How Much Blur Do You Really Need? – This is a good question to ask yourself when determining your shutter speed. The longer the shutter is open, the more blur you will see. You are free to be as creative as you’d like when deciding just how much blur is enough, but it’s helpful to know what you are expecting before you take the shot.
  • Speed Of The Subject – The speed at which your subject is moving will directly affect how much blur you see. If you have a slow moving subject such as a person walking, you will need a longer shutter speed to see much blur. Conversely, faster moving subjects like cars can be photographed using a shorter shutter speed.

long-exposure1

“Whether you want to make things completely disappear, show things with dramatic movement, do creative self portraits, or beautiful landscapes, whatever you want to do, you can do it with long exposure. Just pop your camera into shutter priority, choose an appropriate shutter speed based on what we discussed in the beginning and we’re off.”

[ via Cheap Compact Cameras ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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6 responses to “Long Exposure Photography Made Easier Using Shutter Priority Mode”

  1. Scott Wyden Kivowitz Avatar
    Scott Wyden Kivowitz

    It’s definitely possible with shutter priority, but I would never recommend that. What if your camera thinks 2.8 is the best aperture for a long exposure landscape? Do you give us ISO in favor of more noise or less noise depending on what you want? I think the importance of my comment is “what you want”

    With a priority mode you don’t have complete control. So why not just switch it to manual and put more thought and effort into the photograph being made?

  2. JIm Avatar
    JIm

    I would never recommend SP over M for LE photography.

  3. Amaryllis Avatar
    Amaryllis

    For me it’s definitely manual mode for long exposures.

  4. pandyanisarg Avatar
    pandyanisarg

    What if i dont use ND filter during clicking the photo of water? Do i need to do some changes in aperture to click a good photo without ND filter?

    Thanks

    1. Karl Avatar
      Karl

      All an ND filter does is reduce the amount of light that reaches the sensor – think of it like sunglasses for your camera.

      If you don’t use an ND filter and there is a lot of light, you might not be able to select a small enough aperture to get the effect you want. eg. if you’re shooting in full sunlight and the smallest aperture for your lens is f/22, you might only be able to get a proper exposure at 1/60 or so – not long enough to get smooth water. Using a 9-stop ND filter in this situation would allow you to use a shutter speed of 8 seconds and achieve the same exposure.

  5. csnyder82 Avatar
    csnyder82

    I see shutter priority being great to ensure a fast enough shutter for moving subjects like athletes. Beyond that, I don’t see the use. If LE is what you’re going for, clearly you have the time to wait for your exposure, so clearly you have the time to put it on manual and think through your shot.