How To Capture Amazing Night Photos with Long Exposure

It has been a really long time since my last photos! Here’s a fresh round of some of my favorites which are night photos with long exposure. There’s something magical when you capture those long beams (or trails) of cars passing by and for me it’s quite fun. One of the most important things is getting a really good trusty tripod that won’t let you down so if you want to make photos like these, grab one of those!

Next to that it’s the framing and the location – i tend to prefer curves when there are busy intersections, because if you haven’t any cars passing by it gets pretty boring. Front beams will be all bright and white-ish while when you capture cars from the back they will have these reddish beams.

Now off to the techy stuff, Manual mode is a must since your camera will want to do all funny stuff when you go for long exposure, make sure you have a fully charged battery. Live view is a great addition when you have the camera up on the tripod and i have used Nikon Snapbridge app which lets you remote control the camera from your phone, it’s quite cool.

Off to the settings i recommend:

Camera mode: M
Active D-lighting: OFF
Long exposure NR: OFF (but depends by your camera)
Shooting mode: RAW (absolute must)

I shot with a AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G, a 50mm or a 24mm will be equally good, make sure to do some test shots and test the framing avoid elements of disturb, poles, people passing by, weird buildings, etc.

The first 2 night photos have been shot with : ISO 640, F16, 10 sec shutter speed while the last two ISO 400 F16, 20 sec shutter speed.

In the end the photos look pretty similar, with some small editing – it’s really up to you to experiment with ISO, aperture and shutter speed. In fact you will observe that there’s a small difference between ISO 640 and ISO 400 although i had to compensate with different exposures, one at 10 sec and the other at 20 sec. Pretty obvious for all PROs out there but for beginners this is how you learn how to set your camera right in M and achieve the results you want.

Learn how to take amazing night photography with your DSLR
night photo with white car trails on long exposure
long exposure photos by night on a curve
photo with cars by night with long exposure
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