Long exposure tutorial with Scott Kelby...

We had the pleasure of spending some time with Scott Kelby last week while he was vacationing here in our lovely state.

Scott was kind enough to shoot a long exposure tutorial for us (and our readers), so here it is.

Should you use this tutorial to shoot your own long exposure shots we would love to see them, so feel free to send us a low res version.

If you receive our posts via email you'll need to return to the blog or head directly to our YouTube channel to watch Scott Kelby in action.


half blind said...

Great tutorial, Scott. Thanks so much for putting it up!

Anonymous said...

Great info. Scott. I use an iphone app called Longtime exposure to get me close on how long I should leave my shutter open. Thanks Matt M.

Diane said...

Cool! Thank you very much.

Brendan Cullen said...

Great Scott!! You forgot to mention a very very very important point.

You must first take a meter reading at f/11 (or whatever aperture you choose).

If the shutter speed is for example 1/60 at f/11 - then you use a conversion chart or iPhone/android app to calculate how long the exposure will be with the 10 stopper.

You can't willy nilly just pick a 2 min or 4 min exposure - it will be either under or over.

Also a good idea to take a normal expsoure first - and use photohop layers to blend back some of under exposed details.


Anonymous said...

not too bad ... just one question is still open, and in almost all long exposure tutorials, the don't tell you how to calculate the "stay open for x minutes". that would ahve been an nice info.

Andy said...





Mark in NZ said...

Work out the 'normal' exposure, i.e. without the ND filter, then adjust the shutter speed by 10 stops, and voila....

Scott said...


There is no one answer regarding your question regarding how long the shutter should be open, as there are a few variables:

1. The time of day (how bright the sun is)
2. If it is overcast (back to the sun thing)
3. How many stops your ND filter is (the darker the filter the longer it will be open)
4. Personal taste (how silky smooth you want the water or sky to be)

So I (and others) will try it for a minute and then adjust how long to keep the shutter open (up or down) from there.

Hope that helps.


iso 9000 said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definately be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment.
iso 9000

JJ said...

Thanks for making this video. I bought one of these filters and posted my results here:

Lightlord said...

I shoot long exposures with a Canon 1Ds Mark ll and it takes a lot of time for the image to process , and appear on preview on camera , the longer the exposure the longer the time for camera to process , does anyone else use a Canon , and or Nikon and have the same issue ? A 20 minute exposure takes 5 minutes ( roughly ) to process . Is this common to all digital ?

pivotal image said...

Great Info. Thanks so much!!!!!

Anonymous said...

@Lightlord Sep 3, 07:13: During that "extra" processing time your Canon camera is probably taking a timed "dark exposure" which it uses to reduce the noise in your long exposure caused by bright/hot pixels. That's the way the Nikon D7K works. I assume your Canon works the same way for noise suppression.

Maryann [Maryann's*****Fotos] said...

THIS is going to be sooooooo useful! Thanks a million!

f/8 said...

Do you have to take reciprocity failure into account when shooting long exposures digitally? Seems to me there should be a bit more measurement to proper exposures rather than just trial and error. Also, any tips for reducing highlight blowout or lens flare on these long exposures? Whatever happened to "Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights"?

Tanis said...

Great Info!! Thnx!! :)

camera and gadget said...

very interesting post, I am really interested to read this post, your site is really good

Scott Duncan said...

Great tutorial with Kelby. I just returned from the coast and tried out my Hoya ND400 9 stop filter. I just shared my first shot on your Flickr page.

Photography Indonesia said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

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