Another photography tutorial is here! Some of the sweet blog readers have recently emailed me about my on-going self-portrait project with questions specifically about my long-exposure photographs, so hence comes this post! Today, I will walk you through my process of making a long-exposure photograph, from start to finish.
What you’ll need:
- a tripod (mine is a 61-inch Ravelli Aluminum tripod)
- a camera
- one or a few lenses (I tried some 40mm and 50mm since the room is small)
- a remote control
- accessories (optional – I used christmas lights)
- some patience 🙂
Step one: Gather all your gear and accessories together for easy access.
Step two: Pick your background. For a self-portrait, I like to keep the surround area clean and simple. I did my self-portraits in the laundry room (yes, yes) since my apartment is really tiny… and messy. A clean white wall is all you need.
Step two: Set your tripod on a firm ground. Mount your camera on the tripod properly… then double check that.
Step three: Put your camera on manual mode (M) and turn self timer mode on (set it at 10 seconds so you’ll have time to go back and forth). Adjust your camera setting. The number will depends on the light condition in the room and it will be different from time to time. My camera setting was ISO 250, f 7.1 and 1/3 s.
You want the shutter speed to be quite low (preferably below 1/4 s) in order to create movement effect.
Step four: Set the camera on auto-focus mode (turn the AF on your lens on), position yourself where you want to stand/ sit, point the remote toward the camera lens, and press the button. The camera should start focusing and take the picture.
Troubleshoot: If you find that your camera isn’t focusing on you correctly, try switching it to manual mode (from AF to MF), turning the focus ring to make it out of focus, then putting the lens back on auto-focus mode. Repeat step four and it should be working properly!
To create a blurry effect, you will want to move your head around while the shutter is open. I wanted to have that moving effect on my head only, so I tried to keep my body still as much as I can while turning my face side to side.
If you want get creative and add in some accessories, say, christmas lights, you can wrap the string around your head and body. When you move, the lights will also move, creating multiple lines (very basic light drawing photography). I also like to stand still while moving the string with my hand to create different kinds of effect. Try holding flowers, try something with outfits, or try drawing on the photos. Go wild and experiment with your ideas! ♡
Oh and don’t forget to hide your remote control.
Step five: After you’re done taking the photos, import them into your computer and follow your regular post-process routine. I usually edit the colors, then open the files in Photoshop for final retouch (remove distractions in the background, adjust anything that looks weird, etc).
That is all about how I snapped my long-exposure self-portrait photographs. Hope you find this post helpful, and as always, feel free to email/ comment with any questions.♡