PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Friday, January 13, 2012

Night time Long Term exposure with a cheap digital camera

Today's post brings Wenchkin to the Modern Rosies mix with an AMAZING how-o on something that even traines photographers sometimes struggle with. And in true Wenchie style, she does it with a rad DIY, frugal attitude!

First and foremost I am NOT a photographer. I am a girl with a digital camera that has it in order to take product shots for her store. With that over time I learned to play with all the functions on my camera, one of them leading to some really fun shots. Today I am here to tell you how I took the picture above, it is also the same way I have taken great lightning shots like this.

So let's get started, you may not have the same camera I have and that is ok, in order to do what I do your camera needs to have two things, a flash that you can shut off and a long term exposure setting. I am starting out with a 5mp Kodak Easy Share c340 that I have dropped numerous times so I can no longer use the zoom button but it still works great for long term and macro photography and I can not currently afford to replace it.

I turn the camera on to AUTO, the generic setting usually set in green on most cameras

I then hit the menu button on my camera and scroll down till I see something labeled LT
I hit ok, it opens a menu for shutter speed, mine has four settings a.7 seconds, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds. I usually select 4 seconds, the longest exposure time the camera will allow. I hit ok, back out of the menu and get ready to shoot.

Now on my camera it automatically shuts the flash off when in LT mode. You should double check that your camera does as well as you should have a visible symbol on your camera that looks like a lightning bolt with the no slash through it. If your flash is on, shut it off, it works against this type of photography.

The most important thing I can not express enough when you are ready to shoot is to either have a tripod, which I do not, or find something stable to set your camera on. I do not care how steady handed you are you will never get a good long term shot holding the camera. You MUST set it down. Even in and with that sometimes just the act of my clicking the shutter is enough to jar the camera and ruin my shot. If your shots are still coming out smeared and you are unhappy with them then try setting your camera timer so after you click go it gives the camera a second to quit moving before it takes the shot.

Lastly if your shots are coming out too blasted out and you are letting too much light into the camera go back into your LT settings and back your exposure time back out from 4 seconds to 2 to see if it gets better. The shots I took above are completely unaltered color and light wise, this is exactly the shot I took from my camera under those settings.

Happy Shooting!

Wenchkin is an amazing artist, specializing in muerto-inspired drawings, and thick black outlines. You can find her on Google+, on Facebook, or you can shop her ArtFire shop! She currently resides in Albuquerque with artist Scott Krichau, and their tripod Jack Russell "P."


  1. I've been wanting to do this for ages - you've inspired me!

  2. Fantastic. Going to try it in a bit...