Here’s How to Capture Sharp Long-Exposure Photos with Tips from a Pro Travel Shooter (VIDEO)

Long-exposure photography at night can be very challenging, especially if you want to capture sharp images. And while we all know that using a tripod is important, there's a lot more to getting great results than that.

Brendan van Son is a professional travel photographer based in the UK, and in this tutorial you’ll get a behind-the-scene look at his dawn photo shoot in Washington D.C., with several helpful tips for making sharp images with long exposures.

Most of the tips in the video below work equally well in total darkness as they do at blue hour, and involve a simple formula van Son uses for getting the job done. As you might expect, he begins with the importance of carrying a sturdy tripod and using it properly, but equally important are the camera settings, exposure advice, and shooting tips he provides.

It’s 6am when van Son arrives at the U.S. Capital Building, during his trip across the U.S., and he gets started by finding a location for composing the scene with water in the foreground. He explains, “I always look for water when shooting low-light images, because it gives me an opportunity to create photos with interesting reflections.”

Once he lines up the shot, van Son demonstrates several methods he uses for making sure his long-exposure photographs are as sharp as possible. Among his tips are a number of key camera settings, including using the self-timer, locking up the mirror on his DSLR, and turning off image stabilization. Watch the video to see how it’s done.

There are more shooting tips on van Son’s YouTube channel. And we encourage you to look at another tutorial we posted recently, with helpful advice on making great photographs after dark.