Tips for long exposure photography of moving water

I have wanted to photograph moving water with long expoure for a while now and i finally found the right location! I love the way the water get that silky look, and it really makes the water the center of focus.

Below I have created a guide to photograph moving water with long exposure.

You will need:

A tripod

(A remote)

(An ND filter)

Get started:

When shooting with long exposure it is very important that the camera doesn't move at all (except if it contributes to the wished effect, but in this case it doesn't).To avoid any movement at all the camera has to stand on a tripod or an even surface near the subject, and you have to use a remote or use the self-timer on the camera. When the camera is mounted on a tripod it is important to switch the IS off because the IS  will "look out" for movement at any kind to reduce the blur, but in this case it will give the excact opposite effect.

The camera settings vary from subject to subject, but it is always important to keep the ISO as low as possible because the long exposures can create noise in form of hot pixels which shows as bright specks in the picture.

To blur out the movement of the water the shutter speed has to be at at least 1/3 sec or higher. The effect is better at 1 sec or higher but if it is a very bright day and you don't own a ND filter the shutter speed can be a challenge. For the photographs above I shot with a shutter speed around 1/3 or 1 sec, an aperture at f/22 and ISO 100. Because it was a very bright day it was very hard to shoot with a long shutter speed without the pictures beeing very light, so I tried to use the technique HDR where you shoot three pictures of the same subject in three different exposures and merge he pictures in photosphop afterwards. The result is the first of the four pictures above.

A ND filter would have made it easier to shoot outside in bright daylight because it blocks out some of the light. This way I would be able to shoot with a longer shutter speed and make the effect even clearer, so if you own an ND filter i suggest you use it for this!

 Let me know if you found these tips useful, and if you have questions feel free to ask me in the comments!

Anja x

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9 Comment

  1. These photos are beautiful, thanks for sharing this!

  2. Such gorgeous photos! Love your tips too! x


    1. Anja Neergaard says: Reply

      Thank you so much!
      Anja x

  3. Oh my goodness, these pictures look incredible 😍 thank you for sharing this!

    Pat | ♥︎

    1. Anja Neergaard says: Reply

      Thank you very much, I am glad you liked it!

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