Long Exposure Photography




In this instructable I will show you how to 'draw' with light, using a camera and lights.
Also how to have one person appear twice in a photo graph with out editing the photo

A Camera (One that can has a blub setting or can do long exposures)
Lights (I perfer LED's but it all depends on the picture you want)
Flash (Optional depending on the photo. Must have a flash for the second half on the instructable)

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Step 1: Find the Correct Setting

Depending on the camera you can use different settings.

For my camera the Canon 10D all I have to do is change my shutter speed to BLUB or have it be longer then 1/20th of a second (The Shutter speed also depends on how much light you want to allow in. If you want to "draw" a lot with the light then set your camera to a longer exposure setting, if you want a smaller "drawing" set you shutter speed faster. Its all about experimentation though, so mess around a little)

Point and Shoot:
All Point and Shoots are different look up in your camera's manual to find out how to set your cameras shutter speed. If there is no way to do that by your self try covering up the lense with you hand and turning off the flash. Focus and meter dont click the shutter yet. Once the Aperture and focus has locked remove your hand and take your picture. It should of set your shutter to the slowest it can since your hand was over your lense.

Step 2: "Drawing"

Now you can draw all sorts of images with your camera. If you have your camera on a tripod (recommended) then click the shutter move yourself (or a friend) in front of the camera with your light source and move the light around just to see how it comes out..Now that you have messed around a little its time to try a little more advanced techniques, try writing your name with the light. To do this click the shutter move into the frame of the camera and write your name backwards (its backwards so its frontwards to the camera). The Photo for this step was taken using Blub and then my friend wrote the words Sugie with a lighter.

Step 3: Experiment

Now Go out and try different tricks theres nothing wrong with just messing around. Try it with different lights try doing it with LEDS then bigger lights such as those on cars. Then try different colored lights. Have fun

The Photo for this step was of my drum machine.  I set the camera for a longer (than normal) exposure (1/15th of a second) I rotated and zoomed in at the same time to create the effect like the light was coming towards you and rotating so have fun mess around with long exposures!

Try also if you have a subject you would like to have in focus and clear but still want to 'draw" with other lights try setting up a flash and still using a long exposure. So then once the flash goes off you can draw like you normally would. This is showed in the second photo of this step

Step 4: Doubles

Doubles are actually really easy. All you need is a tripod a flash and the BLUB setting on your camera. Set your camera up on a tripod and position your subject. click your shutter and shoot of the flash, while still taking the picture have you subject move to another position then shoot the flash of again. This should create an image with one person but 2 different positions.

**This one is best if done at night**

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    11 Discussions

    Thanks very much! I invested in a tripod just to do these photos (until I realised how much it improved my shots) but I really love what you can achieve like this. I have only had two photos that I actually like that much, but I haven't really spent an evening solely working out possible shots so I'm pretty happy with the results.

    Heart.jpgTreble Cleft.jpg

    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is really great - I did not know my camera even had a long-exposure setting.

    My old 35mm film cameras all had BULB settings for use with a flash BULB.

    My digital camera does not have a BULB setting, but it does have a shutter and fully manual setting. So I can take exposures up to 4 seconds, long enough for most of these cool tricks you teach.

    Good work, nice i'ble !!!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

     it may still have the bulb setting even if it doesn't say BLUB it could just be the letter B, what kind of 35mm do you have?


    10 years ago on Introduction

     so weird. i have a photo that looks a lot like ur blue one:P its what made me stop in the first place! 
    nice work. keep it up:P


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Your back! Man...you have been inactive for such a long time i almost forgot who you where...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Also This is entered in the Photography contest if you liked/learned or enjoyed this instructable please vote

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i will for sure vote i have always wonder how to do this now i do thanks for posting this sweet instructable


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I like it! I've tried this but I never really had any sucess with it.