7 Essential Equipment for Long Exposure Photography

The secret to a successful long exposure photography is having the right equipment - right from the shoes your wear to the camera you use, you need to ensure that everything is perfect.

In most cases, long exposure photography involves going to a far location. You don't need to reach your location only to find out that you don't have the tools you need to work. Apart from having the right equipment, you also need adequate preparation. Thus, I will recommend that you plan your shoot on time.

Plan a week in advance, it will help you to get the equipment you need and also help you to study your location to know the best time to do your exposures.

Below, I have listed some important equipment you need for long exposure photography:

Top 7 Equipment for Long Exposure Photography

1. Tripod

You definitely cannot have a successful long exposure without a solid tripod. It is extremely hard or impossible to work without a good tripod when you are dealing with slow shutter speeds. Keeping your camera on a fence won't cut it for you - stability is still going to be an issue.

Most tripods are not expensive. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a tripod but don't get the cheapest one. Read tons of reviews to get a quality tripod. If you can't afford one, buy second-hand tripod from a professional photographer.

2. Neutral Density Filters

It is almost impossible to work long exposures without these filters. You need these filters for a lot of reasons - These types of filters are darkened filters that are placed in front of the lens. You can get either a screw-in and drop-in or square filters. They also come in different strengths such as 3-stop, 6-stop, 10-stop and more. For the best result, I will recommend you start with 10-stop filters.

3. Lens Cloth

If you don't want to deal with blur problems, you definitely need to go to your location with lens cloth. They are essential for wiping away smudges and keeping your front lens clean. In some cases, you will have water droplets on your neutral density filters when it is raining, in this case, you can easily wipe the filters with your lens cloth and take your picture without getting blurs.

4. Extra Camera Batteries

A good number of photographers, especially the beginners often forget to carry extra batteries when going for long exposure photography. This is one of the fatal mistakes you can make. Rain or snow can make your battery life shorter and leave you stranded without extra batteries. Moreover, leaving your shutter open for a long time will definitely drain your battery. It is therefore essential that you carry at least three extra batteries with you when going for long exposure photography.

5. Camera with Manual and Bulb Mode

Obviously, you need a quality camera when you are going for long exposure photography. Not just a quality camera, you need a camera that allows you to use a slow shutter speed and also allows you to manually adjust the aperture, ISO, and the shutter speed. When shopping for a camera, make sure it comes with all these aforementioned attributes.

It is very important that you have the ability to manually adjust the settings of the shutter speeds so that you will have more control over your images. Hence, I will recommend using a DSLR or mirrorless camera for this task. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on high-end DSLR; you can completely do fine with just an entry level camera.

6. Comfortable Shoes

Long exposure requires that you stand for a very long time. During this time, you need to be as comfortable as possible. Ensure that you have comfortable shoes on. You need a shoe that can protect you from snow and cold if the weather is not friendly. If you are going to a slippery location, ensure you get solid shoes that will protect you from falling off.

Check Amazon and other online stores for some solid sneakers that allow you stand for the entire day without getting uncomfortable inside the shoes.

7. Water Bottle

Depending on your location, you may find it extremely difficult to find clean drinking water when you are thirsty. To ensure you stay comfortable and satisfied, ensure you go to your location with a water bottle. If you are the type that drinks a lot of water, go along to your location with more than one bottle of water.


You need a lot of concentration when you are doing long exposure photography to get the best result. To ensure you are not distracted, make sure you have the equipment you need. There are other accessories that you may need. However, the ones listed above are the accessories I considered very essential for long exposure photography.

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