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Long Exposure photography with your GoPro

Posted by Action Gear on

Written By Douw-Steyn Lessing

Today's post is all about learning how to shoot amazing long exposure photos with your GoPro camera. We'll start off with a quick intro into what long-exposure photography is, and then we'll get into the fun stuff - shooting your own photos and impressing your mates with those new found skills. With the GoPro it's simple and straight forward, but these tips and tricks will definitely help get you started! Remember 2015 is your year for adventure, so go outside and get involved!

#adventure2015 #getinvolved

What is long exposure photography?

Long-exposure photography or time-exposure photography involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. Long-exposure photography captures one element that conventional photography does not, time. The paths of bright moving objects become clearly visible. Clouds form broad bands, head and tail lights of cars become bright streaks, stars form trails in the sky and water smooths over. Only bright objects will form visible trails, however, dark objects usually disappear. Boats during daytime long exposures will disappear, but will form bright trails from their lights at night. (Wiki)

Night Lapse with the GoPro Hero 4

Examples of Night Photo

This is very easy to do with the new Hero 4 cameras. The two modes, Night Photo and Night Lapse both allow you to change the shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the more light and movement you can capture into one photo when you’re in Night Photo mode. If you're wanting to create a timelapse switch to Night Lapse mode.


Let’s start on shooting one photo with an exposure time of 10 seconds.

  1. 1 - Change your shutter speed to 10 seconds.

  2. 2 - Put the GoPro on Night Mode

  3. 3 - Go to somewhere really dark and take a flashlight with you

  4. 4 - Place the GoPro on a counter, or use a mount,  press the shoot button and start swinging around the flashlight 


Make sure you shine the flashlight in the direction of the GoPro’s lens.

If you still have the ancestor model, don’t worry. Someone made a “hack” file that allows GoPro Hero 3 Black and 3+ users to capture photos at a maximum exposure time of 8 seconds. 

Here are some examples I shot with my 3+ Black at 8 Sec exposure:

I placed thin steel wool in a whisk with a rope attached to the whisk, set the steel wool on fire and started swinging the rope.

Here is a link to the hacked file with a guide on how to use it.


Please email me at if you have any queries about long exposure photography or anything about the GoPro cameras.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know your GoPro a little more intimately!

#adventure2015 #getinvolved


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