Inspirations, photography

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

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45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

Long exposure photography is one of the coolest ways of taking pictures. It requires a longer shutter speed, anywhere from 1/2 sec up to several minutes or even a hour.

The ability to take long exposures requires a user to use a tripod for optimum results (of course, some people prefer the hand shake look). The use of a tripod is essential because the inability for the human hand to stay still is truly remarkable. No matter how good you get, it will be very hard to hand hold a 1 second shutter release without very noticeable blur. As well as a tripod (or monopod in some cases could work), a photographer should make use of the timed shutter release. This will allow the user to set the shot up, and set a timer to release the shutter. Most cameras have the option of one or more timed shutter releases, for example my Canon 40D has a 2 second and 10 second wait. I usually use the 2 second release as this gives you just enough time to get your hands off the camera to not bump the shot. This is even more important on longer shutter times.

Having a longer shutter speed of a few seconds allows the camera to take in more light to the sensor (or film for the film buffs). This means that the camera can read more “data” from the scene and gather more detail in a low light condition, creating some truly remarkable results as you will see below.

As well as low light conditions, a slow shutter speed allows for creative uses of motion in photographs. Some very cool portraits can be taken using a slower shutter speed, for example someone riding by on a bike creates a blur of the background and the bike, but could create a detailed portrait of the rider’s face if you follow the action. The same goes for a moving car, a fast shutter will catch a car in the exact instance, it could look like it’s not even moving (even at 200 mph with a fast lense). But using a slower shutter and following the path of the car could create a remarkable sense of speed that is tough to mimic and master.

Enjoy the great examples below and get out their and experiment with your camera taking long exposures.

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

Reader suggested Long exposure Photographs

I would like to add some of the best long exposure photographs suggested by my readers here. So that this post will remain alive for a long time. Will update this post regularly !

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

45+ surreal Long Exposure Photography Inspirations

About the author / 

Mohamed Rias

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213 Comments

  1. superb photos. July 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm -  Reply

    Superb photos.Were they done on a DSLR or a film SLR.

  2. jinto July 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm -  Reply

    Thanks 4 these nice pictures

  3. Abby July 25, 2010 at 10:52 pm -  Reply

    Well obviously they would have to use a film :] theres a special setting where you can keep the film going until you decide to stop

    • Josh July 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm -  Reply

      You don’t have to use film for long exposure shots. For dSLR’s you just need to keep the aperture open longer. Its even easier to do in dSLR than it is on film.

    • john July 28, 2010 at 1:26 am -  Reply

      abby,

      dslrs can also be set to long exposures.

    • Max. July 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm -  Reply

      “Well obviously they would have to use a film :] theres a special setting where you can keep the film going until you decide to stop”

      All of these will have been done on a DSLR digital camera. You can set it to keep the shutter open for up to 30 seconds on its own or use the bulb setting where you hold the button down for as long as you want.

    • karin April 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm -  Reply

      keep the film going, that sounds more like a video camera than a still camera.
      that ‘special setting’ you are talking about is called ‘bulb’ and it allows the shutter to stay open for as long as you want, even hours.
      i agree with max, these were all done with dslr’s but not all of them were long exposures because some of them stop movement, such as flying birds.

  4. Braw July 27, 2010 at 8:21 am -  Reply

    Abby – Yeah, it sucks that digital cameras dont have an adjustable shutter speed special setting like film cameras do, it is the biggest drawback of the digital format, however minor it is, that you can only take pictures at a single shutter speed all the time. One of these days the DSLRs worth thousands of dollars will be able to keep the shutter open for a variable amount of time, allowing the light sensor to record until you decide to stop. Somebody get on that, pronto!

    • Eric August 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

      I have a Nikon D40, an entry level DSLR camera. I frequently take night shots. I shoot in manual mode, that way I can control the aperature and shutter to any setting I feel like. Not sure where you people are shopping, but I’d find another camera store!

    • Josh August 14, 2010 at 12:22 am -  Reply

      Actually, almost every digital camera on the market has adjustable shutter time, even my little canon point-and-shoot that came bundled with a printer has at least 15 different shutter speeds.

  5. Raymond July 28, 2010 at 9:34 am -  Reply

    nice, looks like some form of HDR is involved here too

  6. vonmari July 28, 2010 at 10:06 am -  Reply

    You can do it with both digital and film. With digital you need to set your shutter to bulb and use a shutter release cable to keep the exposure open…

  7. Karen July 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

    Absolutely beautiful!!!

  8. sammy July 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm -  Reply

    it’s not so obvious… you can take pictures like that with a DSLR..
    you’re not making a very valid point there, Abby.

  9. Scott July 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm -  Reply

    These can be done with with either film or digital. Many of the digital single lens reflex cameras have a bulb setting, which is used to take shots longer than a minute. There are some digital cameras that are not SLRs that have the appropriate setting. I also believe that some of the above photos were done using a High Dynamic Range technique in an application like Photoshop.

  10. Costas August 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm -  Reply

    Scott, can you give some non-SLR digital cameras that have a bulb setting? I’m interested in buying one, that’s why.

    • Zach September 25, 2010 at 6:26 am -  Reply

      Look at canon Powershots. They are pretty nice. Panasonic Lumix is another really good camera but really any camera that offer aperture priority or shutter priority modes will work.

    • Happy February 9, 2012 at 1:16 am -  Reply

      this was the most hflpeul video on this subject matter. Thank you. Are you from Edinburgh?? I saw the castle in there!

  11. RealVisionPhotos August 5, 2010 at 10:01 am -  Reply

    I like this picture very well.

    greetings Ben

  12. Dani August 7, 2010 at 9:54 am -  Reply

    Well I have a Canon 40D and in Manual mode I can set the shutter to bulb and like that keep it open as long as I want/need or the batteries give up I guess. I think that every decent DSLR does have this feature. To achieve a long exposure in conditions with a lot of light (during day time) you can use ND filters to “lower” the light coming through your lens and so be able to set a longer exposure time. There is a neat little iPhone app to calculate the correct exposure time with ND filters called NDcalc (I’m not involved with this app, I’m just recommending it). Also, if you don’t want to use your cameras self timer, get a remote shutter release which you can get for little money and makes (photographers) life so much easier 😉

  13. ALoN August 9, 2010 at 4:11 am -  Reply

    Love the pics amazing….

  14. Amber August 11, 2010 at 1:43 am -  Reply

    I loved the diversaty that these photos showed and the creativeity of the many artists in this photo line up thank you for showing and shairing it with everyone photographer everywhere will be greatful like I am.Amazing works!

  15. Jeni August 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm -  Reply

    I tried using my dslr to do long exposures for night shots and found that it adjusted the exposure somehow so it looks like day! That is NOT what i was attempting. So you must have to do more than leave the shutter open?

    • Zach September 25, 2010 at 6:24 am -  Reply

      It’s called exposure compensation. Look at the in camera light meter and aim for the left half. It’s really simple once you get the hang of it. Your camera always wants to expose for middle gray and a daylight exposure which in this case is not what you want. Learn the basics of a what a histogram is and what it does and you will understand it all a lot better.

  16. Michel August 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm -  Reply

    Great photography. Very inspiring. I’ve done a number of time shots with my 20D that are quite good. I even licensed one a couple of years ago for a good chunk of change.
    I ought to go out there and shoot some more. It’s been a while since I’ve done slow exposures.

  17. Dazzyl August 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    I have taken a few long exposures i think my longest has been probably 50 mins.

    I used 400iso film in an Olympus OM10.

    If you would like to see them http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazzylbrush/

    And to the person who set this page up I’d love for them to be on here…

  18. FakeCasso September 5, 2010 at 10:08 am -  Reply

    I LOVE long and/or multiple exposures! i’ve experimented with it a few times and got great results… haven’t done anything that exceeds 5 minutes though… ive started to put them online… go to http://notanotepad.tumblr.com/ if you want to see them… CHEERS!

  19. jonvayn September 5, 2010 at 10:17 am -  Reply

    great set!

    • Beldiman February 9, 2012 at 11:33 am -  Reply

      I agree with Chris, the first two are nice!Looking fwarrod to seeing more.You thinking of joining Flickr groups?

  20. Carlos September 9, 2010 at 9:33 am -  Reply

    Long exposures with sharp birds and gold fish??? Intresting to say the least!
    Do you tell the birds to freeze for a couple of minutes?

  21. colin September 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm -  Reply

    some of these were very obviously photoshopped

    not all that well either

    dont agree, just look at them up close, he artifacts are everywhere

    • Mohamed Rias September 25, 2010 at 7:07 am -  Reply

      yes.. some may look like photoshopped but actually they are not!

  22. Chris Stahl October 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm -  Reply

    Nice collection! I recognize a lot of the pictures from some of my fellow deviants!

    • Mohamed Rias November 23, 2010 at 4:24 am -  Reply

      Hey dude.. You got some good photos.. thanks for sharing 🙂

  23. MArk Lester Iragana December 6, 2010 at 5:59 am -  Reply

    I like the content it is fascinating. The pictures look great.

  24. Pass February 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm -  Reply

    Amazing photos! They look like they were taken in fantasy land

  25. Andy @ Commercial Photography Milton Keynes February 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm -  Reply

    Some amazing shots. I love the colors in the very first shot.

  26. Oliver Foxley February 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm -  Reply

    “Well obviously they would have to use a film :] theres a special setting where you can keep the film going until you decide to stop”

    Yes this works exactly the same with digital too. You can use the built in bulb setting on your DSLR and/or you can set manual exposure and use a shutter release with lock to hold the shutter open until you release the lock. Most cameras can do anything you want pretty much, don’t be fooled by automatic menus and settings. Even my Panasonic Lumix with no dedicated manual mode can be manipulated to give long exposures. Watch the grain on DX format sensors though – you should set Long Exposure Noise Reduction to high if your camera has the option. Really long exposures on small sensors are bad news sometimes even at low ISO settings. Delve right into the depths of your camera and you can set it up to do virtually anything you want. http://www.foxleyphotography.com for more long exposures.

  27. Michael Law March 4, 2011 at 7:00 am -  Reply

    Really amazing photos…although some of it seemed quite unreal…well, that’s the magic of “digitalization”…:)

  28. Michael Law March 4, 2011 at 7:09 am -  Reply

    Amazing…simply amazing…

  29. Dan@Wedding Photography March 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    Amazing photography, I have done some like this in the past but this post has re-ignited my interest!

  30. manusia bodoh March 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm -  Reply

    excelent photo’s i like that

  31. Wedding Photographer Surrey March 21, 2011 at 10:11 am -  Reply

    These are incredible photo’s. I especially like the ones with the most light contrast.

    I have started experimenting with this technique to record movement at weddings during evening events and also the movement of guest.

    As you suggested it is possible to record the bride-groom movements for 10 seconds to keep their portrait correct in strange and wonderful fluid photo’s

  32. Kristi March 31, 2011 at 6:42 am -  Reply

    Amazing collection of photos! I wish my long exposures turned out like that!

  33. Liewilyn Baynosa April 21, 2011 at 8:39 am -  Reply

    you have a very nice collection. I hope I can achieved those kind of images someday. I do photomanipulations for a while now, and I’m still drooling for images like on your galleries.

  34. Joe April 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm -  Reply

    Wow these are some amazing pictures.

    I love the style effects you can achieve so simply.

    I have never been able to practice much with long exposure, but these pictures have given me the push to try.

    Thanks for the post.

  35. nike free kopen May 16, 2011 at 8:04 am -  Reply

    i like i like a lot, gives me ideas…

  36. photography June 4, 2011 at 11:33 am -  Reply

    My Friend and I are going to start our own buissness, im going to school for wedding planning and buissness managment, She is going to go for photogrophy, how many years will it take tell when can get on our feet?

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