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Two Different Methods for Creating Long Exposure Photos of Clouds

One great way to give your landscape photos a different look is to create a long exposure that results is wispy, flowing clouds that gracefully stretch across the frame. This helpful tutorial will show you two methods for doing just that.

Coming to you from Mike Perea Photography, this great video will show you two methods for creating long exposure shots of clouds. The first is the traditional ND filter method, which helps you create a longer exposure time even in brighter conditions. The second takes minimal work in Photoshop. Notice how Perea isn't just using this technique to do something different; he carefully considers the direction in which the clouds are moving and positions himself so they create strong leading lines to his subject. If you're doing this with foliage in the shot and there's wind on the ground, you might want to consider taking a separate exposure for the sky and ground so you can freeze the motion of the foliage and mask in the cloud motion. This will allow for a crisp, clean shot while still giving you the desired effect. Check out the video above for the full breakdown of the process. 

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8 Comments

Alexander Petrenko's picture

In my short experience - clouds usually move compositionally wrong way. Painting some strokes and blurring them with motion blur is the way to go.

Something like this: https://youtu.be/K0zTAJpjfYM

The only downside is that you need to shoot with clear sky and work a lot with masks for buildings covered with glass.

Deleted Account's picture

Maybe I've been lucky the wind and clouds always cooperate with me. But then, maybe God likes my compositions better than yours. ;-)

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Probably God sent you to this planet to create perfect compositions only chosen ones may see.

I was sent here from hell to create composites :)

Deleted Account's picture

No. He gives me perfect opportunities but I always find a way to screw 'em up! ;-)

Giovanni Aprea's picture

All of this works provided there is no wind so that foreground objects don't show motion blur...

Alexander Petrenko's picture

But you can always composite... And if there is no wind, there is no moving clouds :)

Alex Cooke's picture

I addressed that in the article.

Dave F's picture

Would someone please get that dog some water 😂