Mastering Aperture and Shutter Speed in Long Exposure Photography
Mastering Aperture and Shutter Speed in Long Exposure Photography

even when I am in my studio it always
feels really good to hold your camera that’s me
today’s video is dedicated to how to master aperture and shutter speed in
long exposure photography follow this video because I’m going to tell you
everything I know in order to achieve the best exposure possible in long exposure photography welcome to
my channel here we talk about photography and I make videos just like
this one where I share some tips and techniques to take better pictures so if
you’re here for the first time it might be a good idea to subscribe since I made
my long exposure tutorial that if you didn’t see yet you will find it right
here I received a lot of questions about exposure and shutter speed manual mode
aperture priority what am i using and I understand because it might sound a
little complicated I mentioned that I use aperture priority but then I switch
into manual mode let me explain why let’s start with the aperture I’m sure
that most of you saw my landscape photography camera settings video in
that video I explained why I prefer to use aperture priority but going quickly
through this concept again I mainly want to accomplish two things I want to have
the maximum sharpness possible and I also want to have a very wide depth of field
basically most of my images I want to try to have most of the scene if not all
of my scene in focus and f/8 or f/11 are aperture that with my lenses will
achieve those results and for any lens that is on the market the maximum
sharpness will be always in the middle of your aperture range so once I
select my aperture I will take a test shot before putting any neutral density
filter in front of my lens at that point I will check my histogram and this is very
important because as I mentioned in last week videos it is important to make sure
that your exposure will be positioned as much as possible to the right of your
histogram of course without clipping the reason why is that when we are going to
retrieve details from the shadows we will have better results and we will not
bring up any noise while doing this so if I increase my
shadows I will avoid to get a very noisy image while if my exposure on the
histogram will be positioned all the way to the left it will mean that
possibly this image is slightly underexposed and I will be correcting
these by increasing the shutter speed so at this point switch to manual mode keep
the same aperture and increase the shutter speed until my histogram will
move to the right as much as I wish and now that my histogram looks good is in the
right position I will make sure to focus and then I can
put my filters in front of my lens talking about ND filters means that
we are going to talk about shutter speed basically the neutral density filter is
what will let you control the shutter speed at this point meaning that you can
decide to go for a very very long exposure with a very very long shutter
speed using a super black 15 stops or 10 stops or a 6 stops or a 3 stops and you
can see that on the 3 stops you can basically see through
on a 15 stops business black you don’t see anything
so of course huge difference and huge difference in results then is really up
to you in deciding what kind of effect you would like to achieve and people
told me but Attilio these filters cost a lot of money
which one should I buy and I agree these filters cost a lot of money the
ones I’m using here they are all glass I will put some link in the description
below so you know what I used but at the same time if you have to pick your first
filter I would recommend to start with the 10 stop filter and this is also how
I started of course I didn’t buy all my filters at the same time I started with
one and I started with the big stopper from Lee filter and I also bought
a graduated ND filter this is a three stops soft edge that helped me in
decreasing the dynamic range in a photo and it often happens at sunrise or
sunset that the sky is much brighter than the foreground this helps me to
balance the exposure a lot I have to say the combination of the graduated ND
filter and the ten stops is possibly what I use 80% of the time we were saying how the filters will
actually help you to control the shutter speed and the only thing that you will
need is to have an ND calculator application on your phone I will link a
few in the description but with practice and experience I guarantee you that you
will be able to set your shutter speed without even looking at the app anymore
but one recommendation that I want to give you is that at sunrise and at
sunset most of the time I don’t follow what the
app is telling me and I tell you why especially in a very long exposure the
light changes very quickly in those moments and at sunrise
of course the scene is becoming brighter and brighter so if the application is
telling me five minutes maybe I take one minute out and will be four minutes
because I know that my scene is becoming brighter and brighter so I don’t need
such a long exposure vice versa at sunset because the scene is becoming
darker and darker even if the application is telling me five minutes I
may go for six or seven minutes especially if I want to make sure that
my exposure is positioning to the right of my histogram so decrease the shutter
speed at sunrise increase the shutter speed at sunset I hope this video
without the waves in the back the noise wind relaxed and calm in the studio will
clarify all the questions that I received regarding aperture and shutter
speed for long exposure photography if you have other questions please write
me a comment below if you like this video click on the like button if you’re
not subscribed yet I think you should but in any case thanks for watching and
I will see you in the next video

100 thoughts on “Mastering Aperture and Shutter Speed in Long Exposure Photography”

  1. Attilio Ruffo says:

    I am not sure why…but my chat window doesn't let me reply anymore! So write a comment if you have any questions…


    Congratulazioni lei e molto bravo la seguo da poco e trivi i suoi video interessanti

  3. Brian H Staffen says:

    i usually exposure for the brightest part of the image which is normally the sky/ clouds using aperture priority. I do that to get the definition in the clouds. I'll then switch to manual and keeping the same F stop I'll adjust the shutter speed for the ND filter. I find it hard to get a histogram to the right that doesn't blowout the sky and have to settle for something to the left and adjust my shots in Lightroom. Do you have any suggestions to overcome this problem. Thanks

  4. Tremain Tanner says:

    Many thanks for this video, Attilio. It is the best video I have seen to date on the subject. I learned a lot.

  5. Dan Smith says:

    I'm new to youtube. I know this question is not related but, my question is do you shoot in d810 camera crop to 5:4 or no crop at all for landscape?

  6. Mo Khan says:

    I always enjoy your videos. Thanks

  7. Eugene Sulyma says:

    Attilio, great info. Is the picture profile select important inside the camera? or if shutting in RAW it doesn't matter and can be changed in Light room later? thank you.

  8. GBV - Rafael Starobole says:

    I like the way you talk in your videos, calm, good pronunciation and very good tone. You know that some of us are not english native. I am brazilian for example and I can understand all your words. Thanks for this great job.

  9. ACID SNOW says:

    man this was super insightful! really enjoy learning from you
    thanks for sharing this great content with us and i really really enjoyed watching this!

  10. Dennis Crespin says:

    Where are you from Atilio?

  11. Ronald mac veigh says:

    I so enjoy your tutorials, and I think you are truly helping me,

  12. WestCoastVivi says:

    Binge watching! 😊 Right now my mind is like a sponge… soaking up endless drops of photography knowledge!
    Grazie Attilio 👌🏼

  13. The Happy Hour Hound says:

    Another great video. I stopped using a grad filter and just started using the grad filter in LR more often.

  14. Raman G says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I am very new to this long exposure photography. As you suggested, I am planning to buy 10 stop ND filter and 3 stop graduated ND soft edge filter for my pentax 15-30 mm lens. I have read most of the comments and could not understand base exposure. what is base exposure? and when should I use these two filters? Also, i downloaded Lee filter app and could not understand how to use it? I hope you may respond to my question. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

  15. Yashwanth Kumar Gannaram says:

    Sunrise and sunset point is the best

  16. TheChenza05 says:

    You are a very good teacher Mr Ruffo. I am a learning so much from all of your videos!

  17. Simone Chiaretta says:

    Hi Attilio, great content and video as usual. You mention that you “expose to the right”, and then you bring down the shadows in post processing, while around the net, many other landscape photographers (like Serge Ramelli) do the opposite, exposing to the left, and later bringing up the shadows. Is that personal preference, or is it more use one or the other based on situation? I’d love if you could do a video about the differences between these 2 approaches.
    Happy New Year!

  18. Anthony Goulart says:

    How do you feel about TS lenses for landscape fotografia? Thanks

  19. Oleg Vays says:

    Thank you! I learned a lot from your videos. You're one of the best on youtube in this category and I feel lucky that I found you.
    Shalom ✋🏻

  20. George Labropoulos says:

    Very helpful Attilio really. Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. ronald duverge says:

    nice video my friend ! thanks for your answer at instagram also

  22. Laurent Privet says:

    Would you be so kind and share the title of the background music used in your video? Thanks in advance

  23. Lenie Hulse says:

    For long exposures do you always have your iso as low as possible?

  24. Leigh Rieder says:

    Hi Attilio – I'm relieved to hear that you also don't 100% stick to the app recommendation times at sunrise and sunset…When I was starting out, I was also getting mixed results sticking to the time frames given and also would amend the time by ending the shot sooner or later (depending on if its sunrise or sunset)….I actually thought i was doing something wrong because i wasn't adhering to the times the apps would give. In hindsight its now obvious that a scene gets brighter at sunrise and darker at sunset so the times need to be changed to adjust to that, but it wasn't obvious when I was starting out. Thanks for another great video.

  25. photobyterry says:

    Great listening to you or at least it is when background music isn’t playing! I want to listen to YOU not unnecessary background music. Thank you 😬Excellent advice you’ve given by the way.

  26. pervaiz khan says:

    Sir when you said 180 second. You mean 1.2 minutes

  27. Jens-Chr Strandos says:

    Excellent videos you make! Love them!

  28. D says:

    The talk about changing light levels made me wonder if someone could build a app or stand alone sensor that you could use as an exposure timer.
    Something like a dosemiter does for radiation.
    You could set the exposure level and then apply a digital "f-stop" for it to measure the scene parallel to the shutter.

  29. Andy Smith says:

    I'm using the d810 and the 20mm 1.8 NIKKOR do you think would need the wide angle Lee adaptor ring or the normal 77mm one. Cheers

  30. Leonard Durant says:

    Thanks…another informative video

  31. Will Lee says:

    I have been wanting to say this for a long time.. you remind me so much of Anthony Bourdain (RIP Legend), he was so easy to watch and listen to, as are you!

    Thanks for your highly regarded experience and information.

  32. Alphonse Roy says:

    Attillio Ruffo, You are a very good teacher, yet you are very humble and the best of all you don't ramble. Thank you again and you are the best in this category of videos.

  33. Mauro Cataldi says:

    La misurazione la esegui dopo aver montato i filtri ovvero compensi quella eseguita senza filtri? Grazie

  34. Randy Smith says:

    good point, light changing through duration of 5+ minute exposure. Thanks

  35. Pauls Strazdins says:

    We bought our first filter – Kenko PL Fader ND3-ND400 filter. Thought this is good approach for beginners.. so we are trying it out.. what are your thoughts on adjustable filters? Never heard you mentioning those kinds, but then again – you are pro – and we are beginners and maybe this kind of filter is interesting for beginners only 🙂

  36. Kate Badek says:

    Oky Dokie, just tell us the proper way in details step by step process how to measure the exposure difference in the bright sky v dark rocks .The difference in exposure is critical to determain the density of Grad ND filter.also I have a question regarding you video'mastering Aperture and Shutter: in sunset situation wouldn't be better to use Reverse filter instead ? pls reply , thx Kate

  37. Leonard Durant says:

    Attilio what is the filter equipment you use for long exposures, I am particularly interested in a starter filter holder. I looked at Cokin but they seem cheap. However, the Lee filter equipment is pretty expensive. Any middle ground here? I want to get started with filters but not go bankrupt.

  38. Marvin Lewin says:

    Your YouTubes are very helpful.
    What would be your recommendations be for Alaska landscape photography

  39. myvideosource66 says:

    I am new to digital photography and watched a lot of videos. Thank you, for doing this.

    Based of those I bought the LEE delux kit with holder, big stopper, 3 filters and polo.

    I paid 1.400cad$ for a plastic holder and acryl glass. Also I got the LEE filter puche for 75$.

    First of all I habe the subjective impression this is way to mutch money for this but we can argue about art etc. So Inkeep my mouth shut on this.

    But objective I have to say this is just not thought through: the 10 stopper has a sealed edge to block the light comming in from the side but it is NOT covering everything. There is no way to block the sun comming in from the side. I have to push the filter low down to have only one open spot on the bottom. If the filter would be a little wider/longer then this would not be a problem. Maybe I do something wrong?

    Also the pouche – space for 10 filters but not for the holder? Really?

    Love your videos – thanks again.

  40. Phurpa Hyolmo says:

    Hey Attilio, Been following you for a while now and you have inspired me so much on taking better photographs. Can you please make a tutorial video of How to focus in Landscape photography as my photos dont come sharp enough even though I use f8-f11 and focus manually. I just dont get where to focus. Thank you.

  41. ItalianJan says:

    Good information, thank you!!

  42. Carlos Rey says:

    Attilio I've got to say that that tip of a minute over or under….brilliant. So simple yet I always struggled in sunrise and sunset…and you usually don't many attempts each time you are out…thx

  43. Chris Haas says:

    This guy is the bomb!! Thanks for your great education! So much to learn! Your pictures are the best!

  44. Oleksiy Tarlovskyy says:

    You mean REDUCE the shutter speed. Increasing the SPEED will make the pictures UNDER-exposed! 3:09

  45. Eileen Conragan says:

    Hi Anthony, Really like your tutorial. Love the idea of making sure the histogram is more to the left. More times i have ruined the chance of a great photo with into too much to the left and then too much noise post-processing. I have learned to love the histogram in-camera! Yes, the advice re: sunset and sunrise is great. One of my online lessons suggested not to use a filter during sunrise and sunset because of the change but I am going with your advise. I am going to get that 3 stop filter ND soft filter, too – prefer to get better results in camera with less editing after. Thank you.

  46. Eileen Conragan says:

    OOPS I mean histogram more to the RIGHT!!!

  47. Mitchell J. OConnor says:

    I love the way you explain photography, simple and no nonsense. Thank you

  48. reks says:

    Tnx again 👍

  49. Audrey Lohkamp says:

    excellent videos. I absolutely adore it. Follow my channel if you like!

  50. Rachana C. says:

    Love your videos.. please keep posting 🙂

  51. KishwarS says:

    I watch your videos regularly. So last night I was watching your long exposure tutorial and drifted off to sleep. I dreamt I was in this most beautiful place I've ever seen and you were teaching us, a small group, how to take long exposure photographs!! I was quite sad when I woke up to realize it was just a dream!! 🙂
    Thanks for all the great tutorials!

  52. lahcen adil says:

    Why others YouTubers don't tell us thos informations, you did a great job.

  53. Tom Briere says:

    Attilio, thank you again for a great video. I especially like the tip about modifying the app shutter speed for sunrise and sunset. I have been using F14 to get the most dept of focus but know this is probably a little too close to the diffraction point. I will try using a wider lens and F8 and see about the results (note using APSC, Nikon D500) Thanks again!!

  54. D4ddyprime says:

    Attilio why have I not found your channel sooner! Great content! Probably best I've found on Youtube.

  55. aleck sarkissian says:

    Its been few days that I follow your channel and your videos. I have watched so many other ones from others and for some reason, yours, i always find them very interesting and informative. Ive learned so much from you.
    You are so great and fun to watch and listen to your knowledge. Thanks a bunch for sharing sir.

  56. Carlos Molina says:

    I couldn't find the link to the app you are using

  57. KL Tah says:

    Does a 2in1 graduated + 10 stop nd exist in screw in format? I don't think I've ever seen it. I'm shooting with the g85 btw…

  58. Aatish Shekhar says:

    hi there! like your videos a lot, i have a question at time 3:25 you say increase the shutter speed to shift the histogram towards right .. but when we increase shutter speed the image will be darker or maybe I have completely misunderstood (sorry if i have) your photos are amazing, Thanks

  59. Taylor Cortes says:

    Will using a variable ND filter have a different effect on the image rather than using a specific stop ND filter?

  60. Greg.Z ski says:

    Thanks fo the advice. On the histagram highlights

  61. David F says:

    Hi how do you know if you will have 60 or 300 seconds shutterspeed?

  62. Carlos MEJÍAS says:

    "Grande" Attilio last time i got in contact with you was about this issue and you told me you were going to make this tutorial so i went shopping and bought a Big Stoper and a 81B W 9ND G S both from Lee filters so now that i have seen the tutorial i guess i got the right ones, i am traveling to the coast in a couple of weeks and obviously i will take my gear, thanks again my friend for all your helping.

  63. Steph J says:

    Crystal clear ! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the crowd!! Like your vids very much.

  64. Steph J says:

    Attilio, what do you think of NiSi v6 filter holder, cpl and (g)nd filters? Lee stuff is quite expensive. NiSi seems to be quite good.

  65. Oo7 Hola says:

    Beautiful work.

  66. Inside Me says:

    plz subscribe to my channel


  67. Mr31formula says:

    Thank you again. Buying my filters very soon and then on to vacation.

  68. The Physique Mechanic says:

    Great video, I ran into this issue the other day when I was at about a 1 p.m. Sun at a hike trying to take a long photography shot of a waterfall but it kept getting way too bright of a shot I knew at that point I really needed an ND filter more than likely. Seems like your video clarified that for me

  69. Riccardo Pareschi says:

    Thanks again. Is time to switch from "round" filters to square adding a GND to ND. I'm using Haida Filters, I think they are a good product for my level (equipment & skill) and no too expensive.

  70. Pritam Majumder says:

    Excellent practical suggestion on sunrise and sunset

  71. akash jathar says:

    Nice video

  72. Scott smith says:

    I disagree. Maximum sharpness is not in the middle aperture for majority of lens. Maximum sharpness on most lenses is usually around F4 or F5. You can go to Dx0mark and see the test results for yourself on many lenses. Ofcourse this aperture won't give the DoF needed for much landscape photography. Maybe you meant something different related to deep field focus? But that is something different from best lens sharpness lol. But that is the compromise! f4-f5 is usually the sharpest aperture but not enough DoF. On the other hand F14+ great DoF but often too much diffraction. Somewhere in between is the compromise.

  73. THE STUDIO says:

    I've been a photographer for a few years already, but I'm always willing to listen to others. Your videos are very well presented. You have that great way of explaining that seems very clear and pleasing. You can tell you have such a personable personality. Your photos are superb so it just makes your videos so even more credible. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary talent!

  74. obrpeter10 says:

    Great video! Re: your 10min exposure with the Lee 15 stop, would you mind sharing aperture/iso you suggest? Thank you in advance!

  75. Doug Dailey says:


  76. Marck Riggins says:

    Thank you, very much, Attilio!!!

  77. copyright24 says:

    Thanks for the explanation, but I don't understand why doing a shot without ND filter to check the exposure. If the exposure is good without filters, how could it work once filters in place ? You will have to adjust shutter speed anyway. (the part I mention start at 2:15 )

    Thanks anyway for your tutorial

  78. Herr K. says:

    …and HERE…. in THIS Video ..i REALLY DO have the Feeling… that your are absolutley authentic bout what YOU are trying to tell and "teach" us…… thx a lot Mr. Ruffo for this teaching Video :-)) Greetings from Germany

  79. PWPhoto says:

    Very good info. I'm looking forward to putting your info to work in my shoots in the near future.

  80. Prem Jay says:

    I think you meant to say decrease shutter speed to move the histogram to the right?

  81. Rajiv Krishna says:

    Excellent stuff Attilio. After watching one of your videos, I was hooked! Thanks for sharing your knowledge through these tutorials.

  82. Wilfried Höher says:

    Thanks Attilio, I like your videos and and even like the way you talk. It is easy to understand and of course very informative.

  83. Nélder Almenara Abreu says:

    Boa noite Attilio Ruffo! Gosto muito dos seus vídeos e da forma irreverente e discontraída de passar as informações. Me inscrevi em seu canal, seguindo sugestão de um outro grande fotógrafo, amigo meu aqui do Brasil, que é Fran Camargo. Suas dicas nesse vídeo são muito interessantes e por isso, parabenizo você e seu trabalho que, ao meu ver, é incrível. Abração! Nélder.

  84. lunatic doc says:

    Very useful information, Thank you so much. For long exposure photography, did you turn on LENR or off and get rid of the noise in photoshop?

  85. Fab 71 says:

    Attilio, as usual your video is awesome. (Even the old one) But to be honest with you , I spent a long time thinking over one thing when you spoke about the aperture 😉 and I saw it again and again… and again
    I mean, you said when the pic is underexposed you need to increase the shutter speed to switch the histogram on the right…. but if you increase the speed the pic will be more underexposed…. I think you wanted to say about to increase the time of exposure 😉 so it's a lower speed in fact ? ^_^ but I still have a doubt …;-)

  86. Олег Быков says:

    Hi Attilio. My name is Oleg. I apologize in advance for my English, I use Google translator. I follow your work and try to develop my skills in landscape photography using your examples. Is it possible to ask you for advice – what am I doing wrong, because did i encounter a flare problem? I would like to clarify more precisely with a good example.

  87. Rachit Saxena says:

    What’s the background music on this video please?? Thanks!

  88. M700 Film says:

    yes i like this video. thanks a lot for your help, and sharing your knowlegde about photography Attilio :-))

  89. Cizio_ 71 says:

    Bravissimo Attilio! mi piacciono tantissimo i tuoi tutorial! ti posso chiedere sei sei Italiano oppure hai solo il nome? Grazie ancora

  90. Siddhartha De says:

    Great video, Attilio. Thank you. I have one question. Why don’t you just use the color box for dual toning instead of using the sliders? That way you can simply select both the hue as well as the saturation you want for your highlights or shadows.

  91. Andrew Gill says:

    Great vide as always, need sometime by the water now!

  92. fahIm M_ says:


  93. John Reese says:

    Great info! Thanks!

  94. John Leffingwell says:

    I've been shooting landscape for many year and I'm just starting to learn how to do long exposure. I'm glad I found you on YouTube. Thanks.

  95. Alexian Parker says:

    How am I just finding you in YouTube… Very clear and helpful.. thanks for sharing

  96. steve says:

    This is wonderful video and easy to understand!:) This is my method exactly, and I agree it works quite well for these waterscapes. Your images continue to inspire !!:)

  97. Drone Techie says:

    Great video thank you

  98. W N says:

    Great movie Greetings from Poland

  99. Marty D says:

    Great video, thank you for the tips. I just recently started shooting long exposures with a 10 stop ND filter, but instead of doing calculations, focusing and then placing my ND filter on, I've left the filter on and used the LCD screen in Live View for composition, focus and exposure. Your thoughts? Again, thank you.

  100. Dannyboyz says:

    When you said 4-5 min exposure at the end, I was confused. You really do mean LONG exposure, wow.

    So, my camera is an entry level basically, D3400. I can only go up to 30 second exposure. Anything during the day and that is going to be completely over exposed until I have my aperture closed down down. So, this is where the filters come into play? And, you're attaching these square filters to the front of your camera, how?

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