Long exposure photography quick reference card

Quick reference card with optimal settings for long exposure photography


After I’ve published my extensive tutorial on daytime long exposure photography in 2009 for the first time and a revised and updated version in 2014, I’ve received many visits to my website and many positive reactions from readers all over the world. It has made this website one of the most consistent top 3 websites on long exposure photography on the Internet over the past few years, according to the Google search rankings.

At the same time I’ve been receiving many questions related to long exposure photography and ND filters, so much so that I couldn’t respond to each and everyone of those queries. I’ve decided therefore it would be a nice idea to try and put as many information as possible in just one downloadable and printable long exposure quick reference card with only the most used and most relevant information and tips and, what I also think, most optimal settings for long exposure photography.

Download And Print The Long Exposure Photography Quick Reference Card

Here’s the long exposure photography quick reference card with optimal settings for you to download and to print it out. Please don’t copy and distribute this quick reference card without referring to the original author and copyright owner ( – Joel Tjintjelaar)

It needs to be mentioned that this is a quick reference card for beginners and also for more advanced long exposure photographers but it’s also designed for long exposure photography workshop instructors who want to give their students a (hopefully) easy to understand and portable quick guide to bring with them when shooting out in the field. Of course it doesn’t have all possible information. For example: I’ve only included exposure times and suggestions for the most commonly used ND filters and I’ve also only included the realistic exposure times with personal suggestions what the best exposure times are, depending on the time of day and light conditions. If for example, on one hand you live in an area with very bright light conditions and you only have a 6 stops ND filter then the best you can get at daytime is just an exposure of less than 1 second, which is not enough for the type of long exposure photography I propagate. But if you go out shooting at night on the other hand, then the 6 stops ND filter is very useful. Another example: a 16 stops ND filter is great for any type of daytime long exposure photography (and a filter I use all the time) but it’s not useful for nighttime long exposure photography and a 10 stops is ideal when shooting at dusk or dawn or whenever light conditions are poor.  What you can also see from the quick reference card is that a 10, 13 and 16 stops ND filter is the best set of filters to cover anything during daylight under any condition and part of the evening as well. This type of information will all be visible in the quick reference card and it’s the way I’ve designed this card.

If you need to know more or don’t know how to start, then I would strongly suggest reading the extensive long exposure photography tutorial on my website first, then print this quick reference card and then go out shooting!

TIP: open image in new tab and then ‘save as’ to download the high resolution file.


If you want to learn more about long exposure photography or my method of black and white post processing you can read the free tutorials in the blogs and tutorials section on my website. If you want to know even more on long exposure photography, black and white photography and much more, then I can highly recommend reading either the 424 pages eBook From Basics to Fine Art – Black and white photography, architecture and beyond, written by me and co-author Julia Anna Gospodarou or view my 3.5 hour B&W post processing Speed workflow tutorial that is all about my black and white photography post processing method.

Joel Tjintjelaar

Share this post

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.