How to Shoot Long Exposure Pictures on an iPhone

Using Slow Shutter to Shoot Long Exposure

Jose Rizal Bridge (2015)

Brad Puet 

What to Know

  • Control front/rear camera, AF lock, AE lock, live preview, flash, shutter, capture modes, motion, light trail, low light.
  • Motion Blur Mode suggests movement with motion blur. Light Trail Mode uses long exposure to capture lights.
  • Low Light Mode increases shutter speed to let in more light and capture more detail in dark environments.

This article explains how to use the Slow Shutter Cam app ($.99 in iTunes) to take long exposure photos with an iPhone.

Using the App

It's a simple to use application because it's so straightforward. Once you open the app, it automatically goes into the live shooting mode. Here you can choose the modes listed above for the scene you plan on using.

On the left-hand side (always use this app in landscape mode) will be your options:

  • The front/rear facing camera
  • AF Lock
  • AE Lock
  • Option to remove the live preview
  • Flash

The live preview window is the smaller window, and you can see what you capture based on the settings you choose.

One the right-hand side from top to bottom:

  • Settings
  • Shutter Button
  • Capture Modes

The settings tab opens up all the app settings. The shutter button is self-explanatory. The capture modes are the types of mode you decide:

Depending on the mode you choose, each gives you extra sensitive settings.

What You Can Do With It

Slow Shutter Cam gives you different types of long exposures through different capture modes:

  • Motion Blur Mode: Used for suggesting movement in your images by adding blur. For example, waterfalls are a great visual to show long exposure through motion blur.
  • Light Trail Mode: The type of long exposure that you use to capture car light trails or fireworks. It's capturing moving light.
  • Low Light Mode: Allows the capture of as many of the light sources available and sending it to your phone's camera sensor. The longer the shutter speed, the more light it captures. It helps make dark scenes brighter.


The shutter control on the iPhone is not user-controlled. Unlike Android and Windows Phone devices, the iPhone has not released the manual control of the shutter without a third party app. The iPhone's camera automatically adjusts the ISO and shutter speed to get you the correct exposure. It's limiting if you wanted to expand and become more creative in mobile photography.

Slow Shutter Cam gives you the best chance to become creative and controlling long exposures with your iPhone. The capture modes are diverse enough to be able to produce different outcomes and its relatively easy to use once you start to play around with the settings per mode.

Just like using a big camera DSLR, it takes a bit of a learning curve to know precisely what you are capturing. Play with the settings and find the sweet spot for the scenes and environments you choose. Because long exposure photography is sensitive to camera shake, the best and the only way to do long exposure for mobile or big camera work is by using a tripod, a remote camera app for shutter press, patience, and understanding the idea of long exposure capture.

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