Complete Light Trail Photo Technique with Settings

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In the world of photography, there are various techniques that can be used to create unique and impressive images. One interesting technique that is often used by photographers is technique light trail photo or light trails. In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about this technique, including how to do it, the equipment required, and some tips for producing great results.


What is a Light Trail Photo?

What is the light trail photography technique?

Light Trail Photos, in the world of photography, are a creative technique used to capture long and beautiful light trails in an image. This technique is often used by photographers to create interesting and stunning visual effects depicting the movement of luminous objects such as cars, bicycles, or even stars in the night sky.

How does this technique work? To create light trail photos, photographers use camera settings that allow shooting with long shutter times. This means the camera will be open for a few seconds or even a full minute. During this period of time, the camera will continue to record the movement of the light, which will then be visible as a long trail in the final image.

One of the most common examples of a light trail photo is an image of a busy highway at night. When the camera is open long enough, the lights of moving vehicles will create trails of light connecting the cars, creating a dramatic and artistic look.

To achieve maximum results with this technique, the photographer must have complete control over the camera settings, including ISO, aperture, and shutter time. Typically, using a small aperture (f/8 to f/16) and a long shutter time will produce beautiful light trails.

The beauty of light trail photography is that it is a very creative technique and allows the photographer to experiment with a variety of settings and locations. Each situation will produce a different outcome, and that's what makes this technique so interesting.

So, if you are interested in trying something new in photography and want to create images filled with the beauty of moving light, then light trail photography is a technique you need to explore. This is the perfect way to express your creativity and produce unique and stunning images.


Required Equipment

Equipment needed for light trail photos

Before you try the light trail photography technique, make sure you have the right equipment. Here is some equipment you will need:

Required Equipment for taking light trail photos are the key elements you must have before you can start creating stunning light trails in your images. The right equipment will help ensure that your photos turn out the best they can. Here is the equipment you need:

  • Camera

The camera is the main tool in photography, and having a camera with manual mode is a must for light trail photos. Manual mode allows you to set ISO, aperture and shutter time according to your needs.

  • Tripods

Using a tripod is important because the light trail photography technique requires a long shutter time. A tripod helps keep the camera steady during exposure, avoiding shake or vibration that could ruin the photo.

  • Remote Shutter

To avoid vibrations when you start or end an exposure, the use of a remote shutter or shutter cable is highly recommended. This ensures that the camera remains still when you press the shutter button.

  • Wide Lens

Wide-angle lenses are a good choice for light trail photos because they allow you to capture more light and detail in one frame. This lens also allows you to capture more movement in the image.

  • ND (Neutral Density) Filters

An ND filter is an additional tool that can help you reduce the amount of light entering the camera. This is useful when you want to use a longer shutter time in bright light conditions. ND filters can help create longer light trails.

  • Light Source

Sometimes, you may need additional light sources, such as a flashlight or flash, to highlight objects or produce special effects in your light trail photos. This can add additional dimension to your image.

  • Protective Gear

If you plan to take photos outdoors or in inclement weather, make sure you have protective equipment such as an umbrella or gloves to keep you and your equipment dry.

With the right equipment and an understanding of how to use it, you will be ready to create spectacular images with the light trail photography technique. Remember that experimentation is key to mastering this technique, and with time and practice, you will be able to produce increasingly impressive results.


Settings For Light Trail Photos

Camera settings for light trail photos

Steps you need to follow to create images with stunning light trail effects. Here is a step by step guide on how to do it:

  • Choose the Right Location

The first step is to choose a suitable location to take light trail photos. Choose a location that has vehicle traffic or moving light objects. Examples are busy highways, busy city streets, or nighttime crowds in the city.

  • Prepare the Camera

Mount your camera on a tripod and ensure that the camera is in manual mode. Manual mode lets you control camera settings, such as ISO, aperture, and shutter time.

  • Set ISO

Set your camera's ISO to as low as possible, usually between 100 to 200. This will help reduce noise in your images and produce cleaner results.

  • Set Shutter Speed

This is an important step in the light trail photography technique. Set your camera's shutter time to a few seconds, depending on how long you want the light trail to be. Experiment with shutter times between 5 to 30 seconds for mixed results.

  • Use Appropriate Aperture

Open your camera's aperture to around f/8 to f/16. This setting will help create images with good depth and ensure that all light trails remain sharp.

  • Focus Correctly

Make sure that your camera's focus is on the object you are going to record. You can use manual focus mode or take advantage of autofocus assist on illuminated objects. Make sure the focus is sharp and appropriate.

  • Start Exposure

Use your camera's remote shutter or timer to start the exposure. This will help avoid camera shake when you press the shutter button. Let the camera run for the shutter time you set.

  • Evaluation and Correction

Once the exposure is complete, check the results on your camera screen. Experiment with camera settings if necessary. You can take several photos with different settings to get the best results.

  • Experiment

Don't be afraid to experiment with camera settings and locations. Each situation will produce a different effect, so try varying the settings to create a unique image.

  • Use an ND (Neutral Density) Filter

If you want to take light trail photos in bright light conditions, consider using an ND filter. This filter helps reduce the light entering the camera, allowing you to use longer shutter times.

  • Pay Attention to Light Conditions

Always pay attention to the light conditions around you. Light trails are often better seen in low light conditions or at night.

  • Maintain Stability

Make sure your tripod remains stable during the exposure. Vibration or camera shake can damage the photos.

By following these steps and experimenting, you will be able to create amazing light trail photos. Remember that practice and experience will help you become more adept at mastering this technique.




The conclusion of this article is that the light trail photography technique is an interesting and creative way to create unique and stunning images with winding light trails. With the right equipment and an understanding of how to do it, you can produce impressive results in the world of photography.

Feel free to explore your creative potential and try different camera settings and locations. The beauty of light trail photography is that it is a technique that allows you to express yourself artistically and produce compelling works of visual art.

Lastly, remember that photography is about self-expression and creating stories through images. With determination and dedication, you can create images filled with the beauty of moving light, which will capture the eyes and hearts of your viewers. Good luck, and good luck working in the world of photography!

Herlan Khenz

Herlan Khenz

Seorang penghobi fotografi, mulai dari tahun 2017 sampai saat ini. Dan sekarang sebagai freelance fotografer. Sekarang mulai merambah kedunia blogging. Selamat membaca dan semoga berkenan ilmu atau pengalaman yang saya berikan.
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