How to photograph light trails of cars: a simple guide to taking pictures of traffic

How to photograph light trails of cars: a jargon-free guide to taking pictures of traffic

Basic skills for light trails of cars

Basic skills for light trails of cars: composition

Find a good composition
Composition is vital, so don’t just shoot any old section of road. Look for roads where the light trails will form interesting shapes and help lead the eye through the picture. Shooting from an elevated position such as a bridge can create a better perspective.

SEE MORE: The 10 Rules of Photo Composition (and why they work)

Basic skills for light trails of cars: set a long exposure

Set a long exposure
There are no definitive exposure settings, but aim for a shutter speed that’s long enough to capture a reasonable number of trails. This will depend on how fast the traffic is moving and the length of road framed in the picture.

 

Basic skills for light trails of cars: set the exposure manually

Set the exposure manually
It’s best to use Manual exposure mode so that you can set both the shutter speed and aperture independently. Use an aperture of around f/8 and an ISO of 200. Take a trial shot and check the LCD and histogram. If it’s too dark, use a longer shutter speed or increase the ISO.

PAGE 1: How to photograph light trails of cars
PAGE 2: Basic skills for light trails of cars
PAGE 3: Final tips on how to photograph light trails of cars

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