Ever wondered how to create those silky waterfall photos? Here is a guide on how to take long exposure photos!
This year we went home to Norway for Christmas. We had especially been waiting for a opportunity to get some long exposure shots of waterfalls. Because of mild temperatures with rain and snow that had melted in the mountains a few days before we arrived, it was a lot of water in the rivers, and this was our perfect opportunity!
Winter in Norway almost always has challenging weather conditions. Snow, rain, moist and difficult light conditions can make a photo walk quite challenging, but that is the game and we managed to get some nice photos on our way over the mountains.
Here are some tips on how to take long exposure photos:
Exposure: First you need to set up your tripod and make sure it is steady. When you take long exposure photos the camera need to stay still a few seconds to capture a clear picture. It depends on how dark your subject is and/or how fast your subject moves to determine how long shutter speed you should use. If you take picture of a waterfall then start with 1 second and then increase step by step to about 5 seconds exposure to get a more silky look on your photo. For pictures of clouds you may need to use a even longer exposure time and a strong ND filter, to create the effect.
ISO: Use a neutral density (ND) filter to be able to turn down the shutter speed in daylight conditions and the ISO should always be as low as possible in my opinion.
Aperture: When you want to have more details in your picture you can choose a smaller aperture like f/10 – f/22. If you use a big aperture like f/2.8, the camera will focus where you chose and leave the rest of the picture blurry. Take a few pictures with different settings and I promise you that you will not regret what you see when you start editing your photos!
Leading lines: Look for leading lines and different compositions, you may want to bring some waterproof boots and take your tripod out into the water if the water is shallow. Try out different angles like; high, low, sideways and zooming in on what you want to have as the main focus of your photo.
With this method you compose at least 8 different photos for each time you set up the tripod.
Long exposure photography has definitely become one of my favourite styles, I hope you enjoyed this article and you will try out some long exposure photography!
I also made a small video about how I got to one of the waterfalls, enjoy!