Take Long Exposure Photos with your Phone

Take Long Exposure Photos with your Phone

Take Long Exposure Photos with your Phone Featured Image

Taking Long Exposure Photos with your Phone was unthinkable a few years ago. Normally you need a DSLR, strong ND Filters and a sturdy tripod. You now can ditch all of the above with the help of your Smartphone. In this tutorial I’m utilising the Long Exposure feature in Adobe Lightroom’s mobile App. Taking Long Exposure Photos has never been easier.

The Setup

Since the release of the Long Exposure Feature for Lightroom I took my time to explore it’s capabilities thoroughly. I took All the photos in this article with Lightroom CC mobile on my iPhone XS in combination with a Sandmarc Wide Angle Lens. Having this Lens is a bliss but it’s not a necessity to capture long exposures. By clicking the bottom of the individual images you can examine the results closer. I’m quite impressed how easy it is to take a long exposure photo with your smartphone this way. You can turn the most mundane scenes like this waterfall into something special.

Long Exposure Lightroom Photo
Regular Lightroom Photo

It’s time to ditch the tripod

The big twist in Lightroom is the ability to take your long exposure photos hand held for up to 5 seconds. This feature can be accessed right in the Lightroom Photo app. Through this feature you are able to capture your photos day and night without the help of a Tripod or any ND Filters. Taking a 5 second long exposure facing the sun without any filters totally blew my mind. In my review video you can see how I’m taking these example photos hand held. Lightroom is compensating for my hand movement by cropping the final image. This leads to some weird photo resolutions. However I’m still ending up with crispy sharp images with some nice motion blur .

Does it work flawlessly day and night?

In my test images you can see, that Lightroom does a great job capturing long exposures by day. But what about photos by night that don’t offer so many visual reference points? It almost does a flawless job. In one instance the Lightroom algorithm got confused. I was capturing a snow groomer going up hill. Through the lack of excess light in the scene, the groomer was identified as the stationary subject in the image. This was leading to an amazing effect. The image is looking like the groomer is frozen in midst motion. For an effect like this you normally need to pan with your subject. This glitch in my opinion is showing the huge potential of Lightroom’s capabilities.

Is there a downside to taking long exposure photos with your phone?

Looking at all the incredible advantages of using your phone for long exposure photos, it’s hard finding downsides. Therefore, I only found one so far. Long Exposure Photos taken with phones are missing the Star Burst effect. These bursts can be observed in photos that were taken with a high aperture and are caused by the aperture blades in your lens. The absence of such blades and the fixed aperture in Smartphones makes it impossible to create such an effect. But don’t worry you always can fix this in post.

It’s time to get creative!

I’m absolutely in love with Lightroom’s Long Exposure feature and I’m sure you’ll be to. With that said I want to encourage you to get out there and explore your possibilities. Post your shots on Instagram and feel free to tag me in your creations by using #AttiLong. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


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