Create Stunning Long-exposure Photographs With A Cell Phone | Tim Borkert | Skillshare

Create Stunning Long-exposure Photographs With A Cell Phone

Tim Borkert, Landscape Painter

Create Stunning Long-exposure Photographs With A Cell Phone

Tim Borkert, Landscape Painter

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7 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Equipment Needed

    • 3. The Slow Shutter Cam App

    • 4. Photograph a "Ghost"

    • 5. Photograph Fireworks

    • 6. Photograph a Waterfall

    • 7. Thank You / About Me

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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to create amazing long exposure photographs with your cell phone. First, you will learn how to create a photo of a "ghost". Then you will learn how to take cool pictures of fireworks. Lastly, you will learn how to take an absolutely stunning photo of a waterfall.

I am using the "Slow Shutter Cam" app and an iPhone 8 plus. However, there are many apps and phones that will work. The techniques are the same.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tim Borkert

Landscape Painter



Hi! I'm Tim Borkert. 

I am a professional artist specializing in oil landscapes. However, like most artists, I work in many mediums. 

Most of my work comes from commissions. I love it when someone brings me an old picture of a homestead or view from their honeymoon that they want memorialized as a painting. It is truly humbling and an honor to be a part of their life in that way. My paintings are in collections all over the world.

You can view more of my works on my website or when you follow me on Instagram.


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1. Introduction: I'm here near one of my favorite waterfalls. I'm going to take a beautiful, long exposure photograph of the Falls. Normally, I would use my DSLR with Indy filters, plus good aperture and shutter controls. It's the best tool. Instead, today, I'm going to use my cell phone with APS. You can take stunning long exposure photos with just a cell phone. I'm using the slow shutter cam app, but there, lots of APS that will do this. First, we're gonna go to my house and take a ghost picture of my dog. Then we're going to take a cool picture of some fireworks. After that, we're going to come back and take a stunning picture of this waterfall. My name is Tim Bohr Kurt, and I'm an artist and photographer. Stay tuned, and soon you'll learn how to make amazing long exposure photographs using just a cell phone 2. Equipment Needed: the only piece of equipment that you need besides the cell phone and the APP is a tripod and a cellphone mount for the tripod. There's lots of different ones, and they're all super cheap. You can get him for just a couple of dollars at a photography store, or even just about any department store has, um, it's just a quip that holds your cell phone. You have to have this because you need to your cell phone to be perfectly still when you're taking a long exposure photograph. 3. The Slow Shutter Cam App: before we get started taking pictures, Let's look at some of the pieces of this app in the bottom left hand corner. We got a lightning bolt that turns on the flash. You're not gonna see a difference here in the daylight. Ah, above that little eyeball that is our display screen. As you can see, we've got in the top left hand corner. We have a extra little screen, and what that does is it shows was actually going on. What you're since you're seeing your main display is going to show the picture that's being created as it's being made above, that you have the auto exposure lock and the auto focus lock. I have mindsets that automatically happens when I take a picture, and I think that's pretty important. You don't want your camera to hunt for focus or hunt for exposure in the middle of you. Taking a picture doesn't work well above that. We have W, which stands for wide. If you press it goes to the telephoto. That's only if you're camera supports it. Above that, you've got a circle with arrows that switches to your front facing camera. I'm not going to do that because you don't need to see me next over on the right hand. You've got the settings, and there's a lot of important ones here. The self timer allows you have self time, or just like on a normal VSO are That's really important when you're taking long exposure, because if you, um, very the slightest little bit of vibration, even from touching the screen to start the picture can, uh, Megan out of focus looking. The interval ometer allows you Teoh take lots of pictures, kind of like a time lapse, but it puts it all together in one picture. Those are extremely useful for, like scar gist star trails or something like that. We're not going to use that, but it is an extremely useful feature if you need needed Sleep Timer is important because it keeps your phone from falling asleep while you're taking a picture workflow. I keep mine to auto edit and clear. So I take the picture and then it automatically goes to the edit screen. And then when I exit the edit screen, it clears the picture and allows me to start another one. But you can choose which one works best for you. Photo resolution 12 megapixels is pretty much the best one to use. Unless you're doing something that has a lot of fast motion, then you might want toe bring that down aspect ratio. Oneto One is good for Instagram. Otherwise, just whatever you want, the grid is nice. File format Forgot that one file format is set to J. Peg. It does not allow for raw. Unfortunately, I don't think there's enough processing power. If you want something that's lost less, you can use tiff. PNG. The grid is nice. Sometimes I don't use it, but it's good for if you have trouble composing, see those lines on the screen, adds those the auto lock. We are discussed that on the rest of them are really non consequently. Next we have the shutter button not actually allows you to take the picture. And after you take a picture, yeah, automatically. I have it set toe on life. We go to the edit here you can set where you want to freeze it, and we'll discuss that a lot later, and you can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and the hue. Honestly, though, the controls here are not that great. I would suggest exporting it into something like light room or snap seed to do your editing . Uh, you can reset the picture back to defaults. If you mess it up, you can also share it, just like you can text any picture and you can save it next. And most importantly, we have the little gear icon in the bottom, left hand corner or right hand corner, and that's the most important. That's how we do over settings for actual capturing. You've got motioned, lure light trail in low light motion. Blur is great for things like waterfalls. Were will use that when we're taking our ghost picture the blur strength. I keep it at very high or maximum, but you can play with that. You really don't see much different at all with any of those. The shutter speed is extremely important. That changed a lot. You could go anywhere from bulb, which allows you to keep your shutter along as long as you want to. You have to press the shutter button to start it and press it again to stop it, uh, all the way down to basically just a regular shutter speed. Usually the sweet spot is in the middle on 2 to 4 seconds. Super long exposures are not as useful as you might think for motion blur I so auto is usually what's best. You can crank it all the way up to 2000. You see, there's already some noise being created when you goto high the lower your eye so the lower your noise is gonna be so sometimes you may wanna manually adjust that down to 25. Low light allows you to take things like fireworks or the light trails of a car. The tail lights using those cool pictures. Light sensitivity. I'm not sure what those numbers mean, but it just makes it more or less sensitive to the light and that you can play with that. Each picture is going to be different. Shutter speed again. That's just like it was before. Only it's a lot more important on light trail. Ah, because it ah, you know, the longer your shutters open, the longer you're trails going to be of the longer you have, the capture that light and I so works exactly the same. The low light we're not going to discuss in this lesson. I found it with a cell phone. Your sensor is so small, you cannot get a good, low light picture. Um, at least I haven't been able to figure out how to do it. I have worked quite a bit. You can get some arty looking things, but it ends up being very grainy with lots of noise, and I just don't like it. Now we'll move on to taking actual pictures. 4. Photograph a "Ghost": I have the video policy at the moment to show you the settings that I'm using. The capture mode amusing is motion blur. The blur strength is set to very high, although really the maximum or doesn't seem to matter a whole lot you can play with that shutter speed is set the bulb, and that is important because when you're trying to capture something that's moving, and if you use a set shutter speed, that could be virtually impossible. Um, with Bobo, what happens is you press the shutter toe, begin the picture and then you press the shutter button again. Teoh close the shutter, and that makes it so that you, exactly the picture that you want. I so is set to auto, and I really think that's probably what's best for this situation. The actual picture just takes a few seconds to take. So I pressed the shutter button and then I called my dog towards me and I press it again very quickly. And here we have our picture now. Right now, it doesn't look great, but I can adjust this slider back and forth. Think see the beginning and the ending. I'm gonna just a kind of near the middle, but towards the top, just so that she's looking kind of see through. And that pretty much finishes the picture. One click saved to save it, and we got it. It's very likely that the first time you try this is not gonna look perfect. There's some trial and error that's involved with each of these, and the more you do it, the better you'll get. So here's the final picture, and it looks like my dogs a ghost, but she's very much alive. Next, we're gonna do some night photography doing some fireworks, and it's gonna be pretty cool itself. See, then. 5. Photograph Fireworks: and now we're gonna take a picture of some fireworks. Well, some sparklers. Not really fireworks. I guess it depends on what you consider fireworks. First, we're gonna go into settings and set it so that I've got a couple of seconds delay so I can get in front of the camera because I'm doing this by myself, and then we'll go on, actually change. The settings were going to use light trail, a light, sensitive sensitivity of 18 which is right in the middle shutter speed of eight seconds, which is quite a lot. But we need it to be able to make our light trails on the ice. So it's just standard of auto. I'm going Teoh, start the timer here and then walk out with my sparkler. And then as soon as the timer stops, make some circles with my sparklers and we're done. I just go in and I'm gonna use that same slider that we did before. I kind of keep it kind of in the middle, like that blurry look. And that's pretty much all to it now. This did take quite a bit of trial and error when I did it originally I tried this probably half a dozen times to get it perfect and depending on your light source and everything is gonna be perfect. I had a harder time because I was doing it by myself. I couldn't really frame the shot, but if you could frame it yourself, it would be a whole lot easier. The next one is my favorite by far, and that's the waterfall. And it's also, uh, very easy and a very impressive. So stay tuned for that. 6. Photograph a Waterfall: for a final example. We're gonna look at a waterfall, and I like I did before. I'm gonna go for the settings that we're going to use. There are capture mode is going to be motion blur, blur. Strength is very high. But like we discussed before, it really doesn't matter a whole lot. At least I can't tell much of a difference. Shutter speed. Right now it says two seconds, but we're going to move that up to four seconds for the first picture. We're gonna take several pictures with different shutter speeds to show you the difference . There's not much on the I. So we're going to keep that auto just for simplicity sake. So I'm gonna take the picture is a four second exposure, and that looks very good. He used the slider, but we're not going to use the slider a lot for these waterfall pictures. We want it to be as blurred as possible, so that's what a four second exposure looks like. Let's try at something else. Let's let's do to second. And as you can see, there's not a whole lot of difference. In fact, the slower show, the faster shutter speed might actually give us a better picture and ah, here will take a photograph using a very long shutter. Speed will use 30 seconds. I'm not gonna make you sit and watch for 30 seconds of a picture being taken here. I'm going to speed up the video here, but it's a fast 30 seconds, and we owe the picture looks a little bit blurrier. But one of the problems with using long shutter speeds is that the things that we don't want to be blurry is blurry. Look of these leaves up here, there is just a very slight wind. And that was just enough to make these out of focus. If we use a faster shutter speed, this wouldn't be an issue. Let's try one last picture using a much faster center speed. We're gonna do out with 1/2 a second cheddar speed. It's going to give us a nice, crisp background that's also gonna blow out are, uh, waterfall Quite a lot. And it did. I like this one the best. We're gonna save this one. And this is what the final the little looked like Very nice. Can you believe that? Came from a cell phone unbelievable. It's almost easier to take these long exposures with a cell phone using this app than it is with my DSLR. Now my DSLR will give me a lot softer pictures. Um, some essences, it's better. But, man, the cellphone does really well. 7. Thank You / About Me: Thanks for taking time to watch this video. I hope you've learned a lot. If you'd like to see more of my photography, you can follow me on Instagram at Timber Kurt. Or you could go to my website to see some of my artwork. I'll see you again later.