How to do long exposure photography in daylight?

Long Exposure Photography:

Long exposure photography entails leaving your camera’s shutter open for a lengthy period of time. Your camera will be able to capture more light as a result of this. There is no universally accepted definition of the term “long.” A long exposure is defined as a shutter speed of 0.5 seconds or more. Long exposure settings, on the other hand, might last for many minutes.

There are a few steps to do long exposure photography in daylight.

Required Equipment

Long exposure photography in daylight necessitates the use of specialized equipment.

  • Camera with manual mode
  • Tripod
  • Neutral Density Filter
  • Remote shutter release


You must be able to adjust your camera’s settings in order to achieve daytime long exposure photographs. This can be done in either Manual or Shutter Priority Mode. A Manual Mode is available on most mid- to high-end digital cameras.


Long-exposure photography necessitates the use of a tripod. At 0.5 seconds or longer, even the steadiest photographer fails to capture a clean shot. We all tremble a little naturally, and this motion shows up in the photograph as blur. We want anything moving in the image to blur with long exposures. Things that aren’t moving, on the other hand, should be in focus. During the exposure, a robust tripod holds your camera steady.

Neutral Density Filters:

Filter your lens using a Neutral Density (ND) filter. ND filters are transparent sheets of glass that cut down on the amount of light entering your camera. They function similarly to sunglasses for your camera. ND filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. 3-, 6-, and 10-stop filters are the most popular. The more stops you have; the less light enters your camera and the longer your shutter can remain open.
ND filters are divided into two categories. One kind is square and has a mounting mechanism that goes on the front of your lens. The other kind of filter is one that attaches to the front of your lens.
Consider the thread size of your lenses when purchasing screw-on filters. Purchase ND filters that will suit your biggest lenses. Then you’ll need to get a set of step-down rings to attach the big filter to your smaller lenses. A vignette is created by stepping UP and putting a smaller filter onto a bigger lens. Check public reviews for clarity before purchasing ND filters. Cheaper filters may give the image a color cast and a vignette (a darkening of the borders).

Find A Composition That Works:

Blur Motion:

Exposure time: When taking photos during the day, it’s essential to add some blurred motion in the composition. Moving water (such as waterfalls, streams, or waves) with clouds are common sceneries. You’ll have to picture how clouds will streak or the form of flowing water when constructing your artwork. A note about hazy clouds. There must be open sky between the clouds to provide the desired appearance. On a cloudy day, there isn’t enough room for the clouds to flow into. Anything moving in the image will blur with a lengthy exposure. Leaves on trees and boats on the water are examples of this.

Remove People:

Long exposure at┬ádaytime may also be used to remove individuals from a busy scene. Moving details vanish when your shutter is open for a lengthy period of time. This involves hordes of individuals on the go. A ghost appears when a person or item travels slowly across a picture. In your photograph, these look as shadows. If you’re seeing ghosting, consider slowing down your shutter speed. Intentional ghosting is a form of Intentional Motion Blur (IBM). This might give off an eerie, otherworldly vibe.

Select Your Camera Settings:

To obtain daylight long exposure photos, utilize Manual Mode or Shutter Priority Mode.
If you’re pleased with how your camera chooses the aperture, switch to Shutter Priority Mode. Use Manual Mode if you wish to control the aperture. To maintain the whole picture in focus from foreground to background, landscape photographers frequently utilize a small aperture like f16.

ISO And Aperture:

Begin by adjusting your camera’s settings to reduce the amount of light that reaches your sensor. In most cases, this entails using an ISO of 100 and an aperture of f16. Smaller apertures are possible with my camera, although they can cause picture distortion. As a result, I rarely shoot with an aperture lower than f16.

Shutter Speed:

Long exposure photography does not require a set shutter speed. The shutter speed is determined by three factors:

  • The Brightness Of The Day
  • The ND Filter You Employ
  • The Speed Of The Motion In Your Composition

On gloomy days or when it’s shady, I use a 3-stop ND filter as a rule of thumb. Just after sunrise or before sunset, when the sun is beginning to wane, I use a 6-stop ND filter. I’m more inclined to use a 10-stop ND filter on a sunny day. If I want an extremely long exposure, I can stack my ND filters. The pace of motion in your composition affects shutter speed as well. Fast-moving waterfalls, for example, can blur in 1/5 of a second. To distort the motion of slow-moving water, use a slower shutter speed. You’ll want to play around with the amount of motion you record.
Long shutter speeds can make water appear silky smooth by removing any texture. However, I enjoy a little texture in my water from time to time. In the field, I play around with various shutter speeds. I’ll determine how much motion blur and texture I want afterwards. When shooting clouds, the shutter speed you use is determined by how quickly the clouds move. If they’re moving rapidly, the shutter speed will slow down and they’ll start streaking. You may need to leave your shutter open for many minutes if they are moving slowly. I understand that this appears to be a difficult task. To assist me choose my initial shutter speed, I utilize two approaches.

Aperture Priority Mode:

I set my camera to Aperture Priority Mode with my ND filter connected. My camera suggests a shutter speed, which I take note of. After then, I switch to Manual Mode and utilize this shutter speed as a starting point. I travel quicker and slower at different times. But at the very least, I’m off to a good start.

ND Calculator App:

I set my camera to Aperture Priority Mode without my ND filter connected. My camera suggests a shutter speed, which I take note of. Then I use an app like NiSi Filters’ ND Calculator. I pick which Nd filter I want to connect to my lens and set the shutter speed into the program. For equal exposure, the app tells me what shutter speed I need with the ND filter.

Shutter Release Settings:

When photographing something that moves slowly, I use bulb mode on my camera. Then I add a shutter release that can be controlled remotely. I time how long I left the shutter open with my phone. I don’t bother with the remote shutter release when my long exposures are less than 30 seconds. Instead, I set the internal timer on my camera to two seconds. The camera waits two seconds after I press the shutter button before shooting the shot. This implies that when the shutter opens, my hands aren’t contacting the camera.

Auto Focusing:

When employing a 6- or 10-stop ND filter, your camera may struggle to find focus. Before putting the ND filter on the lens, it’s a good idea to find focus. Then change the focus to manual.

Final Thoughts:

To begin, acquire the essential equipment (tripod, ND filters, and a remote shutter release). Then select a composition that includes motion. A waterfall, for example, or clouds flowing over a blue sky. Finally, choose camera settings in Manual or Shutter Priority Mode. You should leave your shutter open long enough to blur the action.
Now that you know how to do long exposure photography in daylight you should start practicing it.

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