Long Exposure Tutorial | Photography Tips

I’ll use an entry-level DSLR and standard kit lens (18-55mm) 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!

If you found this helpful, here are 5 photography tips for beginners.

Learn about developing your eye for detail here.

Thinking about which camera you should buy to begin photography? Here is my advice.

Confused by some photography terminology? Here’s a list of photography jargon.

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