I’ve been toying with some very long exposure shots for night time photography and I thought I’d report back here to tell you what I’ve been learning. I absolutely love long exposure photography and I think that everyone who has a DSLR or mirrorless camera should try it out. It can definitely expand your repertoire.
Okay, the key to it all (among other things) is to purchase and use a remote shutter release or just remote control. These little pieces of gear are the best things ever. When it comes to regular photography, they can help out in so many ways. They reduce or eliminate camera shake for those long exposure shots and when it comes to capturing portraits, remote shutter buttons allow you to remove yourself from behind your camera so you can guide your subject to your liking. It’ll also help out tremendously if you’re attempting to take a self portrait. All you have to do is sit there, smile and push the shutter button that’s in your hand. If you have a wired remote, you’re somewhat limited in your movement, but if you buy a wireless one, you’ll be able to place your camera virtually anywhere and use the remote shutter release to take the picture when you’re ready.
If you’ve ever taken really long exposure photos at night, you know that you’ll need to switch your camera to what’s referred to as bulb mode. Usually, your camera allows you to set a maximum of 30 seconds for an exposure time, but in bulb mode, you can keep the shutter wide open for as long as you’d like, as long as you keep the button pressed. Well, let’s say I’m taking a night long exposure shot and I need the shutter button pressed for five minutes. Do you think I want to stand behind the camera with my finger on the button for all that time? Of course not. The best feature of remote shutter releases is that they come with button locks, meaning, when you press the shutter button down, you can slide it upward into a locked position. This locked position will keep the button pressed until you unlock it. How neat is that?
To set your (Canon) camera to bulb mode, you’ll need to switch to full manual mode. Then, increase the shutter speed past the 30 second mark until you reach the word BULB. That’s it. It’s set. You can take night shots with shutter speeds for as long as you’d like.
Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes into night photography and long exposure photography, but I wanted to share this piece of invaluable information with you. Happy shooting!