Simplify LONG-EXPOSURE Photos by Avoiding 5 Common Mistakes (VIDEO)

One way to give landscape images a dreamy, unique look is to employ slow shutter speeds to create a sense of motion that’s not visible to the naked eye. By using this technique clouds take on a soft cotton-like appearance, as does flowing water in lakes, streams, waterfalls, and the sea.

If you’re a bit intimidated by long-exposure photography and can’t seem to get things right, you’re not alone. In fact, the instructor in the tutorial below also struggled with slow shutter speeds before perfecting his signature style.

Attilio Ruffo is a professional landscape photographer and educator with a portfolio full of gorgeous images that rely upon slow shutter speeds to create a mood. In this behind-the-scenes episode from Italy’s beautiful Lake Como he discusses five mistakes he made early on—so you don’t make them yourself.

Ruffo first tip is more of a reminder, one that also applies to other forms of outdoor photography; namely, “don’t arrive at a location too late.” That’s because shooting with slow shutter speeds requires more planning and preparation than other forms of photography as you experiment with different compositions, filters, and exposure settings to get the specific look you’re after.

As Ruffo explains, the best long-exposure images are those in which the photographer conveys a personal, emotional interpretation of a scene.  One impediment to doing that is using an aperture that too small for the task at hand. Ruffo describes the important interplay between f/stops and shutter speeds when shooting with ND filters of different strengths.

Other mistakes discussed in this 14-minute lesson include warnings to “never, never buy cheap filters” or trust long-exposure calculator apps, and forgetting to close the viewfinder eyepiece when shooting with a DSLR.

After watching this video head over to Ruffo’s YouTube channel for more landscape photography advice.

And don’t miss the tutorial we posted earlier, explaining how to shoot impressive landscape photos in dull, murky light.