Normally, I say that equipment is not important, at least not for those just getting started with photography. Until you know how to master the camera, equipment shouldn’t be the main focus. You don’t need to worry about having the best equipment or things you don’t actually need. However, to achieve certain techniques or effects, having the right equipment is essential. Long Exposure Photography is one of these techniques where some additional equipment is needed.
Let’s jump straight to it and look at what I consider to be essential equipment for long exposure photography:
Camera with Manual and Bulb Mode
Okay, so this one might be a given. It’s obvious that you’ll need a camera to take an image. However, to be able to use a slow shutter speed (which is what long exposure photography is all about), you need a camera that allows you to manually adjust the ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
Since you are working with different shutter speeds it’s essential that you’re able to adjust these settings yourself, so you can then control the quality of your image. Even though most compact cameras do have this opportunity now, I highly recommend using a DSLR (or mirrorless) camera if you don’t already. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, an entry level camera will do just fine.
Bulb Mode is another option that it’s beneficial for your camera to have. While it’s not essential, it allows you to take exposures that are longer than 30 seconds. Most DSLR cameras have a maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds so if you want to use an exposure longer than that, you need to be in Bulb Mode.
With this mode selected (it’s located different places on different cameras), you can expose an image for as long as you want. Basically, as long as you hold the shutter button triggered, the camera continues to take the image. I’ll come back to a neat trick to avoid pushing the button for several seconds or minutes in a bit.