Don’t be discouraged from long exposure photography just because you don’t have a DSLR camera! Yes, you probably won’t be able to capture the quintessential flowing waterfall photo, but there are many other ways to utilize long exposures!
Does your camera let you change exposure time? ISO? If not, does it have a “fireworks” or “night time” scene setting? If the answer is yes to any of the above, you can take long exposure photos with your camera. We used a Sony Cyber-shot WX80 to take the following photos, but any camera of the same level should work fine.
These first photos we did by putting the Camera on manual and adjusting the ISO. Then we turned the light off, lit a match, and captured the trails of light as we waved it in front of the camera. *NOTE: all photos aside from the “ISO 100, taken with tripod” were taken without using a tripod. We did so for the expediency of creating this blog post, and apologize for the hypocrisy. We still highly suggest using a tripod when shooting long exposures! (However, as you can see it is not the end of the world if you do not have one.)
ISO 100 (Taken without Tripod)
ISO 100, Taken with Tripod (much sharper! use a tripod!)
Finally, we tried the “Nighttime” setting:
As you can see, the coloring changed slightly with the different settings. We suggest you explore them on your camera and find out which one you like best. The scene might not be named “fireworks” or “nighttime”, but any “low light” scene setting will lower the ISO. ISO of 60-100 is ideal, but if your camera cannot go that low try experimenting with its lowest possible setting. Below we have some examples of photos with higher ISO’s:
ISO 3400 ISO 12,800
As you can see, the higher the ISO, the more light in the picture, but also more noise. Also, remember to disable your flash if you are shooting at night.
So, time to pull out your point and shoot, and see what it can do! If you are interested in learning more about long exposure photography, or have a DSLR and want to try it at the next level, we liked this article of 8 Tips For Long Exposure Photography from Digital Photography School. It talks about neutral density filters and DSLR settings and timing.