Getting Started with Long Exposure in Fashion Photography

Editor’s note: Once you try to use long exposure in fashion photography, you’re likely to do it again and again. Not only can it bring outstanding results in terms of originality of your images, but it’s also a great way to add a funny bone to your portrait sessions and thus, get more natural, sincere model looks.

Long Exposure in Fashion Photography

In this post, our regular contributor Barbara Stitzer shares on her own experience with long exposure fashion photography. Read on and learn how to get started with this awesome technique!

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6 Mistakes to Avoid in Long Exposure Photography

Do you want to get better at creating long exposure photos? Long exposure photography is famous for tranquil and serene landscape shots, but when engaging in this type of photography there are many pitfalls that can ruin your shots.

Long Exposure Photography Tips by Peter Bredahl - Photodoto

Below you will find a list of 6 common mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Get Stable Without a Tripod

I recently bought my first tripod. More than a year after I first started making money with my photography, and two years after I got my first decent camera. I finally got one because I’ve been asked to do photography at several night time events over the coming months but I had resisted buying one for so long because I find them (the affordable ones anyway) too heavy and bulky to be practical. For those of you who may also be making do without a tripod here are a few other options for getting stable:

Monopods. These are little poles that you mount your camera on top of. They are lightweight and easy to move and some of them come with velcro straps so you can attach them to fence posts and the like. However they’re not great for long exposure and some monopods may not be strong enough to hold a larger SLR camera.

Beanbags. Very cheap, light weight, and easy to squash into an overstuffed camera bag. Beanbags make excellent camera supports and almost never break! Simply put a beanbag between your camera and a rock/bench/tree/car roof and it’ll support your camera perfectly.

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Take Pictures at Night, Too

A year ago, I was afraid to shoot pictures at night. I thought it was a horribly complicated undertaking that would leave me frustrated and confused. Then I heard a fifteen minute talk on night shooting and saw a group of pictures taken one night by both inexperienced and experienced photographers. I was hooked.

Fine ArtsFirst, I loved the images that this group presented. Some were gaudy, while others were surreal, but even the greenest photographer was able to capture something interesting. Second, the process sounded relatively simple. The main requirements were a tripod and a willingness to play.

A few nights later, I went to a nearby town and took dozens of pictures. Some were disasters, but others were delights. Now I do night shoots frequently.

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Weekend assignment: Available light night photography

Capturing light is the essence of photography. So what do you do when the sun goes down? Fortunately, light is ever present, be it the sun, moon, stars, a single flashlight under the covers, or the glow of a city at night bustling with activity. Making photographs at night is a strange and wonderful thing.

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Creating trails of light with a long exposure

Have you ever seen photographs of vehicle lights on the freeway or abstract images of beams of light? They’re both examples of what is called a “long exposure.” That is, a photograph with a slow (long) shutter speed. You just need two things to make these kinds of photographs:

  • a camera that allows you to manually set the shutter speed (called “Shutter Priority” mode, it is sometimes noted on cameras with the symbol “Tv”) and that allows shutter speeds longer than 1 second.
  • a stable platform to hold the camera steady

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