Long exposure photography is when the shutter on a camera moves at a slower speed. This means it stays open for longer thus blurring any motion. This may sound counter intuitive to have blur in your images, but when you make those blurs with lights, clouds, water, or night skies, you can have so much fun.
The newer iPhones have a long exposure automatic adjustment feature if it detects low light, but otherwise you need a third party app. Today I will discuss 2 long exposure apps that I use on my iPhone. Slow Shutter Cam which I prefer for water effects, and Even Longer which I prefer for cloud effects, and also clouds and water combined.
However, first there is an important piece of kit you need to have to do long exposure photography whether with a phone or a camera. That is a tripod. This is because if the camera moves during the time the shutter is open you will have blur where you do not want it. I have three tripods. A very mini one I use with the phone when I need to reduce weight, a slightly larger more stable one I can use with both my phone and my camera, and then a standard one I use with just my camera. In this post we will discuss the two in the photo below:
My favourite is my mini neweer tripod. This is because it is solid and sturdy for a mini tripod, but also the legs extend allowing for it to be higher in height. It is still quite heavy if you are doing something like hiking with a heavy back pack, so then I use my smaller joby gorillapod. On the left of the photo you can see an extra accessory. This is a mobile phone holder, an important addition you need. It fits on both of these tripods.
Slow Shutter Cam App - iPhone Long Exposure App
This is the app I use to get different effects on water. Depending on how long the exposure time is, you can have a mystical blurred effect, or a totally smoothed out effect. It is also good for motion blur and light trails. What I like about this app is that the image changes on the screen as the exposure time progresses. Therefore, you can see how your image is developing. So if you suddenly decide you like what you see and want to stop it you can. There are three types of long exposure options; motion blur, light trail, and low light.
The app also allows you to have control over how long the shutter is open, the light sensitivity, and the strength of the blur you want. I like using the "bulb" feature (where the shutter is open indefinitely) and I choose when to stop the photo. I often take many images of the same place altering the settings to play around and see which result I like best. Remember, the longer the shutter is open, the more pronounced the light trails or motion blur is. The light sensitivity adjustment makes the image brighter or darker depending on the exposure levels. I do not often take photos of light trails but you can have a lot of fun with any moving lights or things such as fireworks, with this app.
The Even Longer App - iPhone Long Exposure Photography
This is my favourite app to use to get beautiful effects with the clouds on my iPhone.
As with the slow shutter cam app, this is also good for motion blur, light trails, and star trails. It has three modes (top left corner of screen). FA (frame averaging mode), LT (light trails mode), and ST (star trails mode). You change the mode by tapping that icon. In settings (bottom right icon) you set the capture time ie the length of time the shutter is open. Again, experiment with different lengths of time to see what effect each produces. There is an option to save interim photos throughout the time of the exposure which would stop you needing to try different shutter times. However, this is only available on the premium version (I do not have that). One great feature I do use is the shutter countdown. Put the phone on the tripod and then set a countdown length of time before the shutter opens. This then prevents any blurring happening from any movement that occurs when you touch the shutter icon.
In this blog post I have kept it to a simple overview of the two apps. If you want to know more about anything I have said, or you have the apps and have a query, please let me know in the comments.
The image I have chosen for this weeks focus is this one:
We have had a wonderful week of freezing but stunningly beautiful winter weather. I like the pale colours in this image and the way the winter trees are reflected in the water, doubling the winter feel in the image. You can also see the ice beginning to form on the surface of the water.
This was taken one September evening when I could see the sky beginning to change colours in a way I had not seen before. I grabbed my bike and pedalled furiously and the sun had just dipped below the horizon when I got to a good spot, creating the most beautiful hues of evening colour. This was taken on my mobile phone.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post and learning a little more about some of the great things your phone camera can do, and thank you for taking the time to read it. I would love to hear from you in the comments, via email, or the contact form. If there are any topics you would like covered in the future, please leave suggestions in the comments. Please take a visit to my instagram page where there is a lot more to see. You can always request an order from there if you see an image you like that is not on my shop page. Lastly, it would be a huge favour if you could share this blog post for me. It would help my shop a lot!
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