cars lights in front of Triumph Arc

I shot this photo of the Arc de Triomphe with the shutter speed sets to 1 second – f/7,1 – 400 Iso. I used the wide angle Fujifilm XF 14mm.

You can get this free royalty stock photo in my library here.

light effect at night
Urban long exposure shot with cars lights and reflection in water puddle and wet macadam in a street of Paris, France

Best subjects for long exposure shots

Not all subjects are equal before the long pose. Indeed, to obtain an artistic, even minimalist rendering, it is important to photograph a moving subject, even if this movement is very slow.

Photographing the water, whether it is the sea, a waterfall or a river, will give a very smooth, even milky result. This result will be even more successful if you have in opposition an area of the completely immobile image, such as a pontoon, rocks, etc.

Clouds and the sky (at night with stars) are also a very good subject for long exposure, rather the opposite for an subject that does not move, such as trees, a building, etc.

Lightning, fireworks, light (with lightpainting) and many other everyday subjects (the day crowd) show a new facet with the help of long-standing photography, you just have to experiment.

Long exposure in photography makes possible to perceive the world differently, at a completely different speed. What is interesting about this practice is that you will almost never take the same photo, because long pose, just like classic photography, plays with light conditions to create unique results.

Light painting curve shapes
Abstract curve shapes blue light on black background

Jacques Julien

French photographer based in Paris specialised in black and white photographs, animal photos, architecture, portraits.