Light trails are cool. That’s a fact.
What is even cooler is that you no longer need to own a fancy DSLR camera to take one. Your smartphone is fully capable of shooting these sorts of images.
Why would you take a light trail photo (other than it looks super cool)?
Light trails and motion blur images can give your otherwise static shots a feeling of movement. In particular, if you’re taking an image of a moving ocean or waterfall etc, a regular photograph just won’t have the same oomph as one of these.
How to capture light trails on your smartphone
The built in camera app just won’t do, so you’ll need to download an app with the functionality. My favourite is the “Slow Shutter” app available for the iPhone (and Android I believe). It’s very simple to use.
Secondly, you’ll need a tripod. Your smartphone needs to remain absolutely still to capture the best image. The same with a DSLR, in case you were wondering.
You also need a good subject. Light trails work best with traffic… or anything that moves such as a ferris wheel lit up at night. Motion blur works best with movement as well, but day light isn’t an issue with this and works best capturing water movement. The Slow Shutter app can capture both.
The settings that I recommend you try first – Set ISO to 200, light sensitivity to 1/64 and I’ve left my shutter speed to “bulb” to take continuously long exposure shots. The settings will ultimately depend on your environment, but that’s what I recommend to get started with.
The Slow Shutter app also comes with flash, AE (auto exposure) and AF (auto focus) lock.
As you can see, it can be a little trial and error but it has the ability to take some cool photographs! Wouldn’t you agree?
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