Some individuals may think that it is impossible to shoot events with an iPhone, let alone using it for long exposure. However, there are ways to receive a great long exposure photo on your iPhone with help.
You can take long exposure photos on an iPhone with the help of different apps. These apps will help present a better lighting situation with the guidance of the camera’s shutter. Gaining help from a tripod and other accessories will allow you to grab the perfect long exposure photo that you want.
While you may feel as though taking a long exposure photo on an iPhone is tough, it does not have to be. You must first learn about the iPhone that you have and the other steps you need to take to make your photo a masterpiece.
The long exposure feature was originally meant for DSLR cameras but throughout time and the evolution of technology, this feature has transferred to our smartphones.
Long exposure happens when your shutter speeds last longer than 30 seconds. This creates the blurred and dreamy look you see when viewing a photograph of car lights or waterfalls. There are many things that you can take pictures of on your iPhone that will create this look:
There is a simple way to create long exposure films while editing the photos from your iPhone. All you need to do is:
Now, the Live Photos feature was launched with the iPhone 6. To convert Live Photos into long exposure photos, this feature will take the frames shot and layer them to create a blurred look. So, if you have the following iPhones and iOS 11+, then you are capable of recreating long exposure photos as such:
During an event, a long exposure can come in handy when you want to capture how many people are in attendance. If done well, a long exposure can bring a perfect moment centerfold while everything else sits in a dream-like state.
Take some time to understand and realize the full potential of the iPhone’s camera settings.
When it comes to making sure you can receive the best long exposure shot on your iPhone, you must first look within your exposure settings.
With any standard iPhone and its camera setting, most iPhones use a lower ISO 25 to stop lots of noise from entering the photo. Along with having a lower ISO as the standard that is not adjustable, the same can be said for the exposure time.
The exposure time will adjust on its own due to the amount of light being let into the photo. The light affects the shutter speed to reduce any motion blurs from ruining your photo. An iPhone’s ISO can reach 2000 when you are in a darker setting and this creates a longer exposure time.
With the help of third-party apps, you will be able to control the ISO a bit better and the exposure time. Because you will be working with an iPhone and not a DSLR camera, there are a few extra steps that you will need to take to create a long exposure photo.
If you are trying to achieve the same quality effects of a DSLR, then you will need to follow these steps. The long exposure photos you see on iPhone commercials and social media are actually achievable wherever there is motion.
It will take time to grasp the idea that you will need more than just the iPhone itself and your eye. Long exposure requires patience and a bit of added help.
Everyone at some point in time thinks they have the steadiest hands-on earth when it comes to photography. Taking any photos with just your hands can result in some unintentional blurriness. In reality, a tripod will hand you that stability every single time.
Having a tripod to help with long exposure shots is genius. For iphones, there are tripods that are capable of extending to heights from 50 to 60 inches. So, you have the flexibility of placing your tripod on a table or on the floor to grab the right shot.
Just make sure that while taking the shot, nothing or no one bumps into the leg of your tripod. This can cause your photo to gain unnecessary movement and it can mess with the camera’s stable shot of your subject causing everything to become out of focus.
There are some tripods that may or may not come with a mount for your iPhone. However, mounts can be useful as they can be screwed into your tripod and you can flip your iPhone in any orientation without losing any stability.
With iPhones, you have the ability to do long exposure, but it is only a small essence of what a true long exposure photo would look like. This is why you need certain apps to help the iPhone’s shutters reach their max potential.
Now, to access the long exposure apps for your iPhone, your iPhone must be an iPhone 6 or newer. While most DSLR camera shutters can have a long exposure by 1/30, iPhones typically have about 1/3 of a second. This is not enough to capture a true long exposure photo.
Most apps are now catered towards the newer models of an iPhone and having an iPhone 5s simply will not do. These apps will help you with long exposure photos by allowing your shutters speeds to slow down.
The best apps for supporting long exposure photos are the following:
There are a couple of iPhone accessories that will help you see better results with your long exposure photos. Along with your tripod and various long exposure apps, Neutral Density (ND) filters will help you as well.
This type of filter will help you to block out a good portion of light if the sun or light fixtures are overpowering your shot. The higher the number is on your filter the more light that is blocked from your shot. Most smartphone ND filters have an ND range between ND2 to ND400.
You may want to invest in a portable charger as the unexpected can always happen. During the middle of an event, you may find that your battery is already on 23% and you are nowhere near finished taking pictures. Keep a portable charger on hand to stop any low battery warning from ruining your long exposure process.
If you also do not want to beat yourself up because of your impatience, purchase a timer. Long exposures take a long time and you do not want to accidentally grab your iPhone only to realize it is still taking the picture. Pickup a self-timer remote that will let you know when you can move your iPhone again.
With a self-timing remote, you do not need to touch the iPhone’s capture button to start the long exposure shot. The slight shake at the start of the photo could ruin it in the long run.
Since timing is everything, you may want to plan out how you will take these photos at your next event.
There are times where you may have to approach your work with careful intent. This means that you will have to do some extra reconnaissance work before the day of the event. So, here are a few tips:
Even if you are unable to walk through the space for the event, try to look it up online. Sometimes there are photos of the space you will be in that allow you to visualize and obtain an idea of what to expect.
There are many ways to push the limits of your iPhone’s ability to take long exposure shots. However, there are different camera settings to the iPhone that can help with your knowledge of iPhone photography.
With long exposure photos, it is possible to use the Rule of Thirds for more composition. You can often find examples of this rule with waterfalls or even people, where the waterfall is off-centered, but the water and trees take up most of the photo.
With people, you need a main subject focus off to the side and everyone else is continuously moving to create the long exposure look. You can even capture a conversation with this rule to bring more emotion to your photo.
If you are not familiar with this rule, the iPhone has a gridline that you can use to help position your subject the right way. All you need to do to see the grid on your camera’s screen is by opening your iPhone’s Settings. Next, scroll down to the camera tab and make the Grid button green.
This allows the grid to be seen on your video tab and your photo or even panoramic tab. Unfortunately, you can not set which modes receive the tab, but it does not hurt to have them on there all the time.
Now, you may not be able to change the exposure time on your own without an app, but you can control the exposure on your photos. Because the exposure time is used for a quick snap of a photo you really have no say in the brightness of the photo.
The iPhone’s exposure time determines how much light needs to be let in. This shows how quickly the photo is to be taken by the shutters to keep the amount of light the camera wants in the photo to remain.
However, by using the Exposure Slider on the iPhone’s screen, you can change the brightness of the photo itself. All you have to do is:
This can come in handy with your long exposure photos if you feel you want a natural underexposed shot. Just make sure you remember to change the exposure before you start your long exposure shot. You do not want anything bumping or touching your iPhone during this time.
Long exposure shots do not have a set look to them. You can make the colors more vibrant if you wish to by editing them in Adobe Photoshop. You can also make them black and white to have a more mysterious feeling to them.
Filters, however, can lay just the perfect look over your photos without you having to do too much of the guesswork. With one filter you may obtain a sunset look, while another filter may lay a blue hue over the photo. Try different editing apps and presets to see which filters you like the best.
When it comes to long exposure photos, many of us have had to start somewhere. Quite possibly at the beginning of learning how to do long exposure shots, you may have noticed that some of the blurred movements or people look like ghosts.
This effect may not look like some of the smoother transitions you see with a long exposure, but it does make the photo have more of an eerie feeling.
To take on the ghosting effect, all you simply need to do is open up one of your editing apps for long exposure shots. Next, forget the tripod and move your iPhone how you see fit while your subjects move in the same spot as well.
Multiple frames are shot with long exposure and when the frames come together, the subjects will not look perfect and that is a good thing. So, if you ever do a Halloween or some other fun event, this technique would be best for you.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) on an iPhone is a helpful tool to have. Before you take a long exposure shot, take a regular photo with your HDR on. Your HDR feature will take three photos when you press the capture button.
Those three photos will consist of three varying types of exposure levels. After you take the photos, the HDR feature will then combine all three photos together to allow you the sense of how bright your shots will be.
You can leave your HDR feature on for your long exposure shots if you wish to. HDR brings in small details to bring your photo to life that you normally would not see in a long exposure photo.
There are a number of different lenses to your iPhone that you may not have discovered can be used for long exposure photos. You will need to access your editing apps on a computer like Adobe Photoshop.
The reason is that the following lenses have a specific aspect ratio to them that will help you in the long run.
It is important to understand the aspect ratios, because of where you may post them or where a client of yours may want to post their picture. If you have a panoramic photo that someone wishes to post to Instagram, this may not work.
Because the panoramic photo is too big to fit into Instagram’s sizing of photos, you will need to crop it down even more. However, if you were to post the picture to your own website, you should have no problems doing so.
For long exposure shots, burst mode can be used if you wish to manually put the photo frames together to create that look on your own. You may want to use an editing tool on your computer to handle this kind of volume of photos at one time.
Originally, Burst Mode was meant to capture the moments in our lives that are extremely too fast for us to see. A sports car may be passing you by at 120 mph. On the other hand, you may want to capture a runner crossing the finish line.
To start Burst Mode on your iPhone, you just need to hold down the capture button when you are ready to take the shot. Hold this button down for as long as you want, and you will hear the shutter sounding off to indicate the photos being taken.
By adding depth to your long exposure shots, you can bring the viewer where you want them to be. If you wish for them to focus on a certain part of the photo, this would be the time to do it.
You can have the viewers’ eyes look at the foreground and travel all the way up the photo or vice versa. You want this photo to bring out either a feeling or a particular subject to the viewer.
Darker silhouettes can make your long exposure shots pop. By doing so, you need to be on the other side of the majority of the light sources so that when you take the photo, your subjects appear dark.
A dark silhouette can bring a sort of peace and mystery to your photo and you want that engagement with your viewers.
Now that you understand how to take long exposure photos and others with your iPhone’s camera, there are a few rules when editing these kinds of photos.
When you begin to start editing long exposure photos from your iPhone, sometimes it may look like you do not have to edit anything. This is completely up to you if you wish to tamper with the photo.
You can use any regular iPhone editing app like Snapseed or Adobe Lightroom CC. Feel free to connect your iPhone to your computer to edit from any software you have downloaded like Adobe Photoshop.
As you start to alter the photo, you want to make sure that the look of the photo stays in a dream-like state. Darkening and lighting too much can lead to the photo having a lot of static surrounding it, so you may want to find a balance. Keep your colors vibrant, but do not stray away from the true essence of the photo itself.
An iPhone may not possess the capabilities of delivering a true long exposure photo on its own. However, with the help of a tripod or an editing app, you can obtain a great professional dream-like photo.
Make sure you have enough patience to not ruin your own shot. Also, find a place to perch your tripod so that nothing can interfere with its stability.
Remember, during your edits of the long exposure photos know when to stop. Bringing in too much contrast to the photo could take away from it and make it look completely unrealistic.