long exposure portrait Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

9 Long Exposure Portrait Photography Quick Tips

Long Exposure photography is usually a challenging task for many people, especially when taking shots at night. However, this doesn't mean that it cannot be simplified to make it easier and applicable for many people. Therefore, if you are interested in taking long exposure shots, don't worry anymore. This article provides you with well-illustrated tips you can carefully follow to ensure you take the best shot according to your desire.

These tips include;

1. Compose your shot

The first thing you need to begin with is composing your shot. To achieve this, you will have to use equipment such as a tripod, remote, and lighting. Because long exposure always records blur due to camera movements, you can keep your camera stable by using a tripod. This equipment will minimize the shaking of the camera and make it steady. On the other hand, you can also minimize the camera shake by using a remote control rather than controlling it manually which can make your fingers trigger the shutter. You can also increase the lighting source as a way of minimizing the production of blur photos when composing your shot.

2. Make sure all the Constant settings are set

Before taking your pictures, ensure all the settings usually used when taking long-exposure pictures are perfectly set. These settings include; ISO: 64 (or at the lowest native), Manual focus, Live view: On, Mirror: up mode, and the Long Exposure Noise Reduction is on.

3. Find a dark location

long exposure portrait of a man

Photo by Javi Hoffens on Unsplash

Working in a dark position is important for long exposure photography, as it does not require much light. In most cases, the much light makes the images be overexposed especially if you are not capable of controlling the intensity of the light from its source. This also results from your aperture is open for a longer amount of time. To avoid this problem, you can choose to work in a dark location and use your light sources in taking the shots. When working in a dark location, the shots you will take will be free from light streaks which makes pictures have a bad look. The best place that you can choose as a dark location may be a room without windows which is when you are taking your shots during the day.

4. Connect your Wireless remote to the camera

When walking around searching for good shots, always ensure you keep your wireless remote connected to the camera. In addition, when your pins connected to the camera are bent, you will have to replace them and connect your remote when you are to take a shoot. 

5. Focus on the object you want to sharp

Ensure your focus on the object before you can set your shutter speed and aperture, especially when shooting your long exposures during the nighttime. During dark conditions, it may not be easy for autofocus to detect an object automatically. In addition, the darkness may also make the live screen too dark. Therefore, when focusing on the object in a dark condition, you can open your aperture to provide much light and then zoom in on the object using your View screen.

6. Set your Aperture

long exposure portrait of a standing man

Photo by Roma Kaiuk🇺🇦 on Unsplash

When focused on the object, you can set your aperture to provide you with a significant field depth. When you choose to shoot wide, you will have more field depths. For this reason, you can choose to shoot with either F8, or F11 t produce sharp shots while avoiding diffraction.

7. Set your shutter speed

After setting your aperture, it is now time to set your shutter speed when you are still focused on the object. At first, you will begin by setting the camera's View screen for it to show the exposure preview that will display to you the looks of your shot before you can shoot. After that, you can now set the shutter speed that will enable you to get your most preferred exposure.

8. Attach a filter to the lens

Once you are done with the setting of aperture and shutter speed, the next step to make is attaching a filter to your camera lens. However, when attaching the filter, ensure you are more careful to avoid changing your focal length or the length of the object you are focused on.

9. Reset your Shutter speed

Even though setting your shutter speed again may sound dump, you must consider it. In some scenarios, using the Live View screen when determining the exposure may not be possible for you if you attach a filter. In addition, focusing on the object may also be sometimes difficult if you have a filter on it. On the other hand, the filter will let you know the number of stops of the light they have blocked. Because of this, it is essential to reset the shutter speed after attaching a filter to the lens.

long exposure portrait of a man

Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

Consequently, the type of filter you will use will determine your setting on the shutter speed. However, if your shutter speed is 30 seconds longer, you will have to set the camera to the bulb carefully. You will also need to set your shutter speed on the remote. After considering all the tips carefully, you can now finally take the shot and have a look at your final image appearance. If you are not pleased with the image look, don't worry, you can tweak all your settings and continue shooting as many times as possible until you get your preferred shot.


Taking a picture may be challenging, especially for long exposure photography. Because of this, considering the tips described in this write-up will enable you to take the best shots that will suit you. The tips present all the information you will need when taking shots in a step-by-step form that makes it easy for you to follow and understand them perfectly. Therefore, you will not have to be a professional photographer to understand them. In addition, the tips are straightforward for you, dedicated to making you take the best shots that will please you most when in Long Exposure photography.

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