How to take a long-exposure photo on iPhone

How to take a long-exposure photo on iPhone

The cameras on iPhone are known for being consistent while capturing images. And there are barely a few devices that contend iPhone’s video quality. But the iPhone lacks manual camera controls, and you can’t click long exposure images from your iPhone.

If you’re looking for ways to do so, read along. However, first, let’s understand the basics.

What are long-exposure photos?

What are long-exposure photos

Have you seen shots where the hustle and bustle of city traffic are turned merely to light streaks? Or images of waterfalls where the flowing water seems like silk? Well, those are examples of long-exposure photography.  

Long exposure photography is made possible by keeping the shutter of the camera sensor open for a long duration. This allows the sensor to capture the motion of moving objects and the resulting image often is pleasing to the eye.  

So, does the native camera app on the iPhone supports long-exposure images? I hate to break it to you that they don’t. Even the “Pro” models of iPhones don’t come with professional camera modes that allow manual controls. But don’t be disheartened. There are ways you can take long-exposure images with your iPhone.

Tips to take long-exposure images on iPhone

Before you get into the process of clicking long-exposure images, here are some tips to help you capture them better. Following these steps will ensure the time and effort you put into capturing long-exposure images does not go in vain, so read closely.  

I. Get a tripod

Long exposure photography needs the camera sensors to be open for a significant time. Suppose you try to capture long-exposure images while holding the camera in your hands. In that case, it will result in blurry images as stability is a prerequisite for long exposure photography.  

Mounting your iPhone on a tripod resolves this issue as it ensures stability. There are other household objects you can use as alternatives to a tripod. But if you’re serious about clicking long-exposure images, you should get a tripod. Here’s our list of best iPhone tripods to help you make a decision.

II. Use a remote shutter or set a timer 

Tapping the shutter button of your iPhone or even tapping the screen introduces some level of shakiness. And to prevent this, even when using a tripod, use a remote shutter or set a timer.

The volume up button of the EarPods (wired earphones from Apple) doubles as a shutter button in the Camera app. You can use the Apple EarPods or buy a wireless selfie remote controller and avoid the fear of messing up your shot.

How to shoot long-exposure photos using the native Camera app

Yes, there are no Manual camera controls on the iPhone. But Apple has a feature that allows you to shoot long-exposure images through the native camera app. And that is possible by clicking live photos and then converting them to long exposure in the Photos app on your iPhone. Here’s how to do it,  

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone.  
  2. Tap the Live Photo icon at the top right.
  3. Tap the shutter button to capture an image.
    Remember: Use a tripod and set a timer or a remote to hit the shutter button.
  4. Once clicked, go to the Photos app.
  5. Tap the Live option below the back button at the top left.
  6. Select Long Exposure from the menu and done!  

    Shoot long-exposure photos using the native camera app

Shoot long-exposure photos using third-party apps

There are a plethora of apps on the App Store that promise to offer true manual controls on the iPhone. However, not all stand true to their words. There are a few selected apps that deliver on the promises made, and here are a couple of apps you should try:

1. Slow Shutter Cam – For beginners

Slow shutter cam manual iphone camera app screenshot

The name gives away the primary purpose of the Slow Shutter Cam app. It also has preset settings viz., Motion Blur, Light Trail, and Low Light. All of these are perfect for helping you capture long-exposure images on your iPhone.

However, the app is paid. So, if you’re serious about capturing long-exposure photos on your iPhone, subscribing to this app will be a great investment.

Price: $1.99


2. ProCam 8 – For professionals

ProCam 8 RAW Photo Editing iPhone and iPad App Screenshot

If you’re not new to the world of photography and know your way around the camera, the ProCam 8 is the app you should get. It offers more control over the camera, and since you’re already well-versed with manual controls, it opens more doors to your iPhone photography.

Price: $9.99  


If none of these make the cut, check out our these best manual camera apps for iPhone. You’ll certainly find what you’re looking for!

That’s it!

I hope this article helps you capture long-exposure images on your iPhone. What images do you plan on capturing now that you know how to take long-exposure images? Let me know in the comments below.

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Consumer Technology and Motorcycles are the two things that excite Darryl the most. Why? Because Tech helps better people's lives, and solving people's problems related to tech is something he enjoys. And what about bikes, you ask? Well, drop a gear and disappear.

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