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Low light, long exposures: Top tips for getting started

Adam Monaghan Published by Adam Monaghan June 17, 2013

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Low light, long exposures: Top tips for getting started

0
205

Adam Monaghan Published by Adam Monaghan June 17, 2013

Nokia 35mm Amy, Beachy Head 2003-465

If you’re enthusiastic photographer with a talent for low light photography, today is your lucky day. Why? Because our Nokia Low Light Photography Competition, in cooperation with Dazed & Confused, is up and running and we’ve got Nokia Lumia 925s, amazing trips and fantastic magazine features lined up for the three lucky winners. You can enter here, and to help you out we’ll be publishing some top low light photography tips and tricks. So, first things first, how to get started?

Low light photography is capable of producing some stunning imagery but it’s also capable of being incredibly infuriating. One of the most common problems for any long exposure photography is camera shake and camera shake inevitably means blurry pictures. So how to avoid falling at the first hurdle?  What kit should we have and what tips do we need to know?

The supporting role

The first piece of essential kit is something to support your smartphone or camera with. Typically, this is a tripod but these days there are a variety of options which do the same job. There are pillow ones, (even shaped version to sit on car window ledges), bendable ones that you can grip onto trees, fences and doorframes, small foldable ones that slip in your pocket and more traditional, full size telescopic legged ones.

Tripod options

Which tripod you need will depend on a mix of where and what you’re photographing and how portable you need it to be. (There are even carbon fibre tripods specifically designed for use in water so as not to rust). And if you’re planning long exposures anywhere windy, you’ll need something quite sturdy! Even a little gust will wobble the camera/phone and ruin a long exposure!

 Fixing your phone to your tripod

If you’re using a smartphone and opt for a more traditional tripod support, the next obvious problem you’ll encounter is how to fit your phone to the tripod. Here Nokia have solved the problem with one easy piece of kit, the Nokia Tripod Mount!

 Nokia Trip Mount Pair

This handy little gadget has the standard ¼ inch tripod thread and is sprung loaded so it fits just about every Nokia smartphone. So, you just screw it to the tripod head, pull open the sprung loaded top and pop your phone in! Nothing could be simpler!

Timing it right

Once your smartphone is securely fitted into the tripod mount and the mount is on the tripod, there’s still one more influence on camera shake. And that’s from the simple action of pressing the shutter button! (Or touching the screen). This is often an over looked element of long exposure photography but it really does make a difference.

With ‘normal’ cameras this issue has been solved in a number of ways. In the old days, it was with a manual shutter release cable. Whilst this enabled the photographer to depress the shutter without touching the camera, the cable itself was still physically attached to the shutter button. Then, more recently, this was developed to an infra red shutter release. This is even better since there is no physical contact with the camera at all and therefore no risk of camera movement.

But there is also a third way, which is both applicable to both ‘normal’ cameras and smartphone cameras; the self-timer.

00 Pureview Self Timer

The self timer allows the photographer to set the photograph and press the shutter release but leaving a short delay until the shutter fires. This delay is crucial for removing any chance of camera shake.

00 Pureview TimerWith phones such as the Nokia 808 PureView, you also have the benefit of three different times. (You’ll be surprised how long ten seconds feels when you’re stood there waiting…)!

So there’s the basics of kit and know how… next up is a finding a subject which will yield exciting results! Once you’ve come up low light trumps remember to submit your best shots to our low light photography competition! Submission period runs from 12th June and 24th July, 2013 and voting runs between July 10th and 17th 2013. The winners will be announced on August 1st, just in time to get whisked off to New Zealand #Lumia925 #NokiaxBurtonNZ

Sound good? Then why not get snapping right now!

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