Long exposure photography has become very popular over the past decade, particularly among landscape and astro-photographers looking to add a more surreal mood to their pictures. However, this is doesn’t mean that long exposures are limited to those specific areas of photography. With street photography, people often think of the ‘typical’ black and white, static and candid captures that freeze the action. This may be popular, but it’s also great to break the mould and apply some creative uses of slower shutter speeds. After all, street photography is about anticipating and capturing a moment before it’s gone, which often requires the photographer to react within a split second of a moment unfolding in order to grab it. Adding a slower shutter speed shutter can help add drama to street photographs, in fact there are many different times when a longer exposure may be beneficial in bringing out the essence of a street moment.
Here are my seven tips to inspire and hopefully give aspiring photographers some insight into how they can add a sense of motion to provoke their street shots.
Just like all types of photography it’s important to have some kind of image pre-visualised in your mind in order to best understand what it is you are trying to communicate. This could be as simple as deciding on a location, time of day, subject matter or even how you want your viewer to feel when they view your image. By pre-visualising your shots you’ll be able to work out what length of shutter speed is required to more accurately capture the image you have in your mind. For example, if you want to capture a sense of motion as someone passes by your camera, you will probably need to be side-on so that when the subject passes through your frame you can track or pan with them to grab your shot. You’ll also be able to determine what length exposure will work best depending on the available light.