Light Trails are a great way to spice up your photos!
Light Trails are like, really fun… As I have written in the past, I like to use different things to spice up my photos. I use Orbs, Long Exposures, stars even the Aurora Borealis to bring an extra element of life to an otherwise great view! Today we are going to talk about LIGHT TRAILS. To me adding these pieces brings your photos from awesome to astounding, without that much extra effort! Light trails are another one of these elements that add a lot to a photo, but more so, are incredibly fun to capture!
Light trails are streaks of light that will “trail” across a frame due to your shutter being held OPEN. The first step (as in almost all forms of Night Photography) is to setup on your tripod. Your camera needs to remain perfectly still during the exposure!
Next find yourself a location that has some form of moving light. A busy road is the best place to start, be careful of where you are gonna stand however (people tend to swerve towards things that they shouldn’t)… Fireworks, Stars, the Aurora are other scenarios where “light moves” and are great places to test these methods!
Once you’re setup over looking your scene it’s time to capture some light trials. For your camera settings you will need to flip to the scary “M” for manual. I know most of you are already at this point, but if you are not DO NOT FRET! Just follow my voice 😛 (If this really does scare you start with my beginners guide to photography)
#1. You are going to need to keep your F-Stop a little higher if you are planning a longer exposure. Start in the neighborhood of f8 and go up or down from there.
#2. Keep a relatively lower ISO as you want to avoid any noise in the photo (Start at ISO400).
#3. The real magic of great light trails is going to happen when you start adjusting your shutter speed. Anywhere from a half second to over 15 mins is going to get you the desired effect! So play with all of the times and find what you are the most pleased with.
#4. Until you KNOW what it is going to take to capture the perfect light trails you will need to PRACTICE! Take a lot of images at different settings! Not every moment will need the same shutter speed, but at the end of the day you are going to find what works best for you.
Finally when it comes time to edit your light trails in Light Room, be sure to brush in some clarity, contrast and adjust the color temperature of the light trails themselves.
Be sure to let me know how your light trails are coming! Comment below any questions!