Critique the Community

Long Exposure

Submit your best long exposure image to win a free Fstoppers tutorial.
  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 12 Nov 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

Our next Critique the Community will feature your best shots with long shutter times. What cool effects have you created with long exposure? 

Between now and November 11th at 11:45PM EST, you have the opportunity to submit up to two of your best long exposure images. This means your shutter had to have remained open for more than one second, preferably longer. We will choose a total of 20 images to provide feedback to and two lucky entrants will win a free Fstoppers original tutorial. The first will be chosen based on the highest community rated image and the second will be chosen randomly. 

Once you've uploaded your photos, scroll through the other entries and provide ratings and feedback of your own using the Fstoppers rating scale below. The easiest way to assign ratings is by using the number and arrow keys on your keyboard. If you see an area where an image could be improved, kindly pass along some advice to your fellow community member. 

  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 12 Nov 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 727 people have cast a total of 59,702 votes on 864 submissions from 535 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results


Dan Grayum's picture

There are alot of awesome photographers here.

Brian Sal's picture

So many great images, even the ones that aren’t so great are good...lots of talent here

Luca Phil Franze's picture

I agree, the amount of insane photos in here is crazy😍

I really want someone to photograph a crazy long exposure at an insanely popular & recognisable location with an ND filter mid day and just make it look eerily quiet, yet stunningly perfect.

Just for something different.

Are you?
Are you okay?

Matthew Davidson's picture

I've been meaning to do this for a while. Gotta find some use for my solar filter...

Dan Grayum's picture

You do it! You have a great idea, now execute it! That would be a cool image.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Some people think any night shot is long exposure. 🤦🏼‍♂️

George Popescu's picture

Gotta love it when award-winning shots get 2 ratings on here! :)

Alex Lud's picture

Experiencing this right now, ah ah ! :) I know that feeling.

Geoff Miller's picture

Not sure if there's trolls voting, or people think the only way their images rate better is to drive down the competition... talk about a rough crowd!

Patrick Hall's picture

Just rated your photos George. Curious which one was the award winning photo? I'll be honest and say I gave them both 2s. I don't want to give away too much if it winds up being picked but I don't think the car one is strong enough for a car port and the blown out girl with long exposure is too strange to really stand up on it's own. Just my honest opinions. Can't find Alex Lud's photos to give my critique on those.

Patrick Hall's picture

Ah found Alex's fountain shot. I think the subject matter isn't that exciting and the horizon looks off. Also not a huge fan of the ultra wide angle lens so close to the subject and the lighting is kind of boring. Again, just my personal thoughts on it. Gave it a 2 star rating as well.

Trevor Parker's picture

See this is actually what’s nice about this site. Strong critique to get better from. Thanks for sharing Patrick. I do think there’s a lot of 1 star voting that isn’t deserved though. Snapshots shouldn’t be shared on this site and there’s no way so many one star votes should be given except to troll. I don’t think my shots are exceptional but I would say at least a 2-3 range. 5 of the first 6 votes on one of my images were a 1 Star though. I take the votes with a grain of salt nowadays.

Alex Lud's picture

20mm is ultra wide for you ?
I have no problem with 2stars rating, when there is an explanation, and I agree with what you say, could be better for the reasons you said.
But, because 90% of long exposure shots are during night or sunset time, I wanted to bring something a bit different :)

Patrick Hall's picture

20mm isn't ultra wide but when you get that close to the subject so that it distorts, it starts to show the flaws in that field of view choice. It just makes things look a bit cartoonish where as in a more traditional landscape photo, 20mm might not even be noticeable. Mike Kelley shoots real estate at 17mm all the time but he's so far away from anything that you don't notice it as much.

Alex Lud's picture

Ok, yes, I see, thanks for the explanations.
20mm isn't ultra wide, we agree on that :)

George Popescu's picture

The car shot won a couple of awards on another photography website and it's probably the best image that I have ever posted on that website in terms of views, and other logistical information.
Not sure why the car shot wouldn't be good enough for a portfolio if someone is specializing in doing car light painting photography.
Here's the link to the other website:

Also I rated your photo a 3 because the facial expression of the model really bothers me, it looks like she is about to fall asleep with her eyes half closed, if she had a more lively facial expression then it would be a 4. However someone pointed out that it's not really a long exposure it may be a 1 in that case.

Jonathan Webb's picture

I would not get too worked up over it in this forum. I agree, that some great shots get 2 stars here and some not great shots get 4; however, that is the nature of public rating systems. Everyone reviews photos based on different criteria, which makes it very subjective. In addition, I suspect many people post their image and rate the photos that are posted at that time and not ones posted in the future. This creates a scenario where not everyone rates every image, making it even more subjective. I think more serious competitions do not allow votes until all of the photos are submitted and usually constrain voters to a select group of people with specified criteria.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm a very novice photographer, so I get the low-ratings, but I got a ton of 1's(especially on my one image). Based on the definition, I'm not sure how a long-exposure can even be considered a snapshot. I'm fine with the low ratings, but I'm still learning, so I wish people would give a reason for a 1, so I could improve for the future.

They are just beeing not fare really! I really liked your composition. The technique is also good. I guess they are giving you such low rating because of the subject matter. Which I agree is quite lazy tbh. If you pick something more interesting, I'm sure, the result would be better. You have everything it needs already to do better photos! Just need to go some extra for the better subject

Also, why do you think you are getting 1s? I've looked up your photograph - it has quite a good rating atm. Or is it a way to look up every individual rating somewhere?

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I agree that the subject matter could be improved. The 1's were on the lake house picture. It was a 1.3 or something like that. I think it's like a 1.7 now.

Patrick Hall's picture

I'm curious to see what Lee says about 1 star images being impossible with long exposure. I agree that a long exposure by nature means you at least know how to manipulate your shutter but at the same time, I can argue that it's still not much better than a snapshot and needs a lot more work before even coming close to belonging in a portfolio.

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

I don't want to point fingers but there are some images in the contest of, what I guess is car's and street lights, that were done shooting from a moving car at night and they are just a mess of colors. That to me is a snapshot because you don't even have to choose the exposure as any camera in full auto will use a longer exposure.

I should clarify that I completely understand my work getting low ratings and would run from a photographer that put stuff like that in his portfolio.

As a side note, thanks for the content you guys put out. I don't know much, but 90% of what I have learned about photography is because I stumbled across the site. I even find I learn a lot from your non-tutorial content like the critique videos and your challenges against each other.

Steve de Vet's picture

Now there are very few 1's in this critique, for the obvious reason that most long exposure shots will require some knowledge, which pushes most images to a 2+.

But, I wouldn't say that ANY long exposure shot is automatically 'not a snapshot'.
it could still be "your mom" turning dials and knobs and pressing the shutter "I wonder what this does". Or the "accidental long exposure" when shooting at a wrong aperture/iso and accidentally getting movement/blur in the frame because of it.

Patrick Hall's picture

Don’t forget some cameras will set a long exposure in auto mode to get enough light. Normally they follow the 1/60 rule but you never know.

A B's picture

Regarding the 1 star thing, I think it's probably something like globally within the rating system nearly any long exposure will probably be at least a 2 (based on the "knows how to operate their camera and is purposefully trying to create something photographic" definition), but within the "long exposure" category the ratings have to shift a little so that a 30 second exposure of something completely uninteresting, or that didn't even need to be photographed via long exposure is going to dip into the ones. It's an interesting question though.

Wow. I know it's early and there's a lot of great images submitted so far but i didn't think my images were that bad. Damn.

The gallery right now is so inspiring and demotivating at the same time! There's just so much great photos here already - so you see clearly where to head to. But I just can't imagine how much it takes to be THAT good.

Brian Sal's picture

A lot of hurt feelings in the comments LOL...could it be that many of us think we are better than we really are?

I know I'm an amateur and i have a lot to learn and there are some really amazing photos here but I graduated from snapshots a while ago and i think a lot of others have also. There are quite a few that, in my opinion, should be at the very least a rating of 2.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. I like and appreciate honest feedback. It just seems like there are some harsh ratings.

Brian Sal's picture

I totally agree with you and also have much to learn but that’s the beauty of it as its a never ending learning process otherwise we would never progress. Low ratings shouldn’t bother anyone on here who cares. I know my images are better than a 1 star but I’m not in this for likes or stars I’m in it because I enjoy photography and that’s what I believe should matter the most. Have fun and enjoy the ride and places it takes us. Take care dude

Ryan Luna's picture

I'll be transparent about my rating...

Images I felt did not meet the spirit of the challenge, ("long exposure"), I gave 1 star. There were several images I gave a one star rating that, on their own, would be 3-4 stars. Take for instance Patrick Hall's image of the studio girl shot he posted. I gave it a 1 star rating. Patrick was looking right at Lee Morris when he said, "don't post a 1-2 second image", yet Patrick did anyway. I love Patrick's image and would give it 4 stars on its own, but in my opinion, it does not meet the spirit of the CtC challenge set forth by Lee.

By definition, anything that looked long exposure to me, I had no choice but to give it a 2 star rating. No matter how terrible I think the image is, i compelled myself to rate all long exposures a minimum of 2 stars, because a long exposure is not a "snapshot".

I gave many 3 stars, some 4 stars, but not any 5 stars.

My solution to the 1 star trolling is to remove the anonymity of the ratings. Let it be known who rated and what their rating was. It won't be a perfect solution, but I'm sure it would remove a lot of the trolling.

Finally...the Joshua Tree image I posted is not 5 stars, and most likely not 4. I have no issue it being 3 stars, but I know for a fact it got several 1 star votes. It's kind of absurd trolls can hide behind the anonymity.

To be honest with you Ryan. Your image is a 2. The lighting on the tree is harsh and looks amateur. Sure the sky looks good but the rest of the image needs work before hitting your portfolio. The lighting doesn't make sense with the image. Patrick Hall has a similar image on his profile (and a video about it) which is executed much more professionally.

Although I like you being honest, this is an anonymous account because I don't want people voting my image based on my comments.

Ryan Luna's picture

I have no problem with you voting it a 2. It is not a 1.

Ruth Carll's picture

Robert - having an anonymous account used for commenting is not ok. Not only does it defeat the purpose of us all participating in collegial, professional discourse, it potentially allows for voting on your own images and twice on others. I'm not accusing you of doing this. Just pointing out that this practice does not positively contribute to the community as a whole.

But most of this is not collegial, professional discourse. It is people complaining why their bad images get bad ratings and to avoid being downvoted by these people for being honest with them, I use this account to respond to them instead. I will continue to do so.

I understand your point about the voting which I don't do, this is solely to comment on this discussion board, but I'm sure many others do. At the end of the day there are 40,000 votes cast so far meaning the few that try to manipulate votes will have essentially no impact and the top rated images are so close in quality that any of them deserve to win.

I do use my real account to comment on photos and give feedback and I'm an active member of this community. This is solely to respond to people that whine and complain about their photos being downvoted.

Ruth Carll's picture

I disagree with you on multiple point - which is fine.

People complaining IS collegial discourse. No one here is attacking others' views but rather just expressing their own.

There is a logic flaw in your ( and most of those commenting) comments about low ratings. You yourself state it will have little impact due to the quantity of votes. Soooo... Why worry about it? It would take a large part of the community to be voting unethically to alter the outcome and I don't think that is the case. It is nearly statistically impossible to affect your own rating by down-voting others with this many submissions and votes - unless almost the entire community is doing this. If that is the case, why would any one want to be part of this community?

Don't forget too, this isn't a contest. There is no 'winner' based on votes. The votes mean nothing. And we all agree that scale is not functioning. I recommend to everyone that they vote with this in mind. IF people are trolling - to what end?

You can do whatever works to make you have a positive experience. My reaction to your stating the you feel you need an anonymous account is more regretful for the perception that this community would require that. I am a PollyAnna I guess as I think better of us. I wish you well.

Crying that your image deserves higher ratings without recognizing its faults isn't collegial discourse and it certainly isn't professional.

Because I don't want to be associated with getting in petty fights with these babies haha. I don't want to hurt my brand/image.

Also, I'm not sure what you think this is but it most certainly IS a contest.... and it IS decided by votes... The top voted image gets a free tutorial valued at 300 USD.

Anyway, my problem isn't with you or 99% of the people on this site.

Tyler Schwab's picture

That may be why I had a few low railings. In my opinion, a few seconds is a long exposure. I’m a portrait photographer. No portrait photographer is going to take a 30 minute exposure. Doesn’t make sense. Long exposure in portraits are different than long exposure in landscape. That’s kind of an unfair vote when it takes just as much technique for us to do a few sec exposure as it does for a landscape photographer to do a 30 min exposure.

Ryan Luna's picture

Most landscape photographers don't do 30 minute exposures, with the exception some star trail images. "Long Exposure" to me is usually 1-2+ seconds. BTW...i rated yours 3 stars since it looked longer than 1-2 seconds. Patrick's image, if I'm not mistaken, was more like 1/4 or 1/2 of a second.

George Popescu's picture

I gave it a 3 because you had to set up the shot, and work on getting the sky right even if the light on the tree is not that good. There's no way it would be a 4 looking like this but it can never be a 1 looking like this either.
I don't get some people, my car photo was set up with the two cars, they were both light painted, the background was also chosen, the exposure is a minute and a half and yet I'm still gettting 1's and 2's on that photo. LOL

Adrian Bateman's picture

Spending time on photos doesn't always equate to portfolio ready which is what a 3 is. I agree, that they aren't 1's but I personally don't think either the car or tree photo are portfolio ready.

I think there is potential for both photos to be portfolio worthy with some more practice and fine tuning.

Robert Tran's picture

Just food for thought, there are different levels to snapshots and the advancements in technology have given folks the ability to tweak a quick capture considerably. I.E. bokeh in and of itself doesn’t turn a 1 into a 2, and so on.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Some people here are really butt hurt from the ratings. Would you just stop whining and accept it as it is. If your shot gets an average rating of 2.14 from 24 people then most likely it needs work. If you’re so sensitive and offended by the ratings here, maybe you should not post here but on Instagram instead and collect the stupid likes to make you feel better. But then you won’t grow and get opinions about your work except for “nice shot” and “great work”. But yeah everyone is so positive these days that all they want to get is positive likes.
The idea of ratings on this website is great. It elevates above the all-positive plain likes system. It gives you an honest community’s opinion on your work. Ok, if your shot only got ratings from one or two people then it may not be that accurate but I’d say over 5-7 will give you an idea how good your photo really is.
So please people let’s not kill it here and let’s continue to share photos, inspire each other, improve and grow together, shall we?

Rob Eakins's picture

I think people are upset that there's obviously community members that are submitting their photos and then going in and deliberately giving 1 star ratings to other images in an attempt to lower the scores of decent images in hopes of winning a free tutorial. I personally was bummed that the image I submitted was around a 2.5 yesterday. I'd love to hear a legitimate critique that would move that image from a 2.5 to a 5 star image.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

I love your image and I’m gonna give it 4 stars. I’d be proud to have it in my portfolio. But don’t ask me what would make me give it 5 stars.

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