How to Make Epic Long Exposure Photos Without Costly ND Filters (VIDEO)

You’ve no doubt admired beautiful landscape photos with soft flowing water and cotton-like clouds, and perhaps wondered how they were captured. The typical approach is to use neutral density (ND) filters that significantly reduce the amount of light entering the lens, thereby permitting very slow shutter speeds that create this ethereal effect.

The problem with ND filters is that they’re very expensive. Compounding matters is that you’ll need a variety of filters is different strengths. And unless you do all your shooting with one lens, or lenses with the same size filter size, you’ll also have to buy ND filters in various sizes for each lens you use.

Sound cumbersome and expensive? Well there is another way to get the job done, and it requires no filters at all. You may have to make adjustments depending upon the light levels in your scene, and do a bit of editing later, but after watching the video below you’ll be able to create beautiful images without the added expense of ND filters.

Danish pro Mads Peter Iversen is known for a clean, minimalist approach to landscape photography, and long exposures often contribute to his recognizable style. For this behind-the-scenes episode you’ll watch him photograph a boat wreck just offshore, as he demonstrates this method of long exposure photography.

Before jumping into the technical stuff, Iversen explains his vision for this particular shot. The goal is to use a long exposure to smooth out the water surrounding the boat, retain a bit of reflection, and capture the subject against a clean, simple background.

After a quick discussion of the gear used for the shoot, Iversen explains how he created the image without neutral density filters by making several exposures of the scene and stacking them during the editing process. It’s easier than it sounds, and he walks you through the entire process in barely 12 minutes.

After watching the video, head over to Iversen’s YouTube channel for more great tips, and then watch an earlier tutorial we shared with seven common mistakes that can ruin landscape photographs.