Long Exposure Tutorial | Photography Tips

I’ll use an entry-level DSLR and standard kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6) as an example.

  • Strap your camera to a tripod.
  • Set the focal length to 18mm.(Zoom out as far as possible)
  • Switch your camera to manual mode
  • Set the aperture as low as it can go, in this case, it will be f/3.5
  • Set the ISO to 3200.
  • Set the shutter speed to 30 seconds.
  • Find the farthest light in the distance – allow your camera to focus on it – set your lens to manual (This will lock the focus – be careful not touch the aperture ring as this will adjust your focus again.)
  • Place your camera and tripod on the ground and point it in the direction you want to capture the stars.
  • Take your picture
  • Wait 30 seconds
  • And there you have your picture.
Taken with Nikon D3100; 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6; f/3.5, 30 sec, ISO-3200

Editing Process

Editing will play a significant role to enhance your image. Using a free app like VSCO, Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile will get the job done.

Edited long exposure

I’ll use Snapseed for this tutorial. (Keep in mind our settings will differ)

I started by adjusting the color curves and creating the standard S-curve for all of the colors. (Including the RGB circle)

Then I adjusted the basics;

  • Brightness +55
  • Contrast +25
  • Saturation +50
  • Ambiance +16
  • Highlights +40
  • Shadows -10
  • I added a vignette with the outer brightness set to -25 and the inner brightness set to +50.
  • I adjusted the white balance just slightly setting the temperature(it will give your photo either a cold or warm feel) to +7 and the tint(green or purple) to +16.

There you have it. Good luck and have fun!

Let me know how it goes. Feel free to tag me on Instagram!

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