Light trails: what you didn’t know about this night photography favourite

Light trails: all you need to know for this night photography favourite. Tips on where and when to shoot them, best camera settings and more.

5 tips for getting creative with your light trails


Night Photography: using slow shutter speeds

01 Don’t get too close

Don’t set up your tripod too near to moving traffic. It’s dangerous for you and may distract drivers. Also, the rush 
of air from larger vehicles may move your tripod and cause camera shake.

02 Keep an eye out for distracting bright lights

Watch out for light sources that are much brighter than the light trails, as these will burn out and cause distractions. Use the camera’s histogram to check for blown-out highlights.

Night Photography Tips: how to get the perfect exposure for light trails

03 Control your sources

Shoot in raw format so that you have better control over white balance during processing. This is important when dealing with different light sources that can cause colour casts in your shots.

04 Use an ND filter
If you’re shooting at your lens’s smallest aperture at ISO100 and the required exposure is too short for your shot, try using an ND filter to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor. This will enable you to expose the light trails for longer.

05 Switch to manual

In low-light situations your camera’s autofocus can be unreliable or fail to lock on. Switch to manual focus (MF or M) instead and focus on the spot in the picture where the light trails are passing through (learn more about Manual Focus: what you need to know to get sharp images).

PAGE 1: Where to shoot light trails
PAGE 2: How to expose for light trails
PAGE 3: 3 ways to ensure you get light trails right
PAGE 4: How to shoot light trails at dusk
PAGE 5: 5 tips for getting creative with your light trails


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