My New Favorite Long Exposure Photography App

In Photography by Matt K32 Comments

A while back I had written about my favorite long exposure photography app. Well, I have a new one. It’s called Slower Shutter and it was actually written by a friend of mine, Mike Wong who works over at Lynda.com.

Note: The app is for the iPhone only. Why you ask? Because Mike is an iPhone user, and he wanted to write an app that he could use himself.

Why Do We Need Long Exposure Apps?
I love long exposure photography. But there’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to using Neutral Density filters. You have to figure out what the right shutter speed is for a long exposure based on the density of the filter you put on. Normally, your camera does that for you, but when you have a filter on, that doesn’t really work.

That’s where a good long exposure app comes in. Basically, you take all your filters off. You put your camera on Aperture Priority mode and take a photo (or just press your shutter half-way down) to get a shutter speed reading.

Then, you open your app, plug in your shutter speed as well as the type of neutral density filter you’re using, and it gives you a new shutter speed to use to get the same exposure that you did without the filter on.

Then you put your ND filter on. Switch over to Manual mode and use the same aperture as before. Finally, just change the shutter speed the the one that the app gave you.

Why I Like Slower Shutter Better?
For starters it was written but a good friend of mine 🙂 And don’t get me wrong, ND Timer was a great app, but one thing always bugged me. It didn’t have a timer in it. So I always had to use my watch or the timer app on my phone. Slower shutter has a timer built in so now I have one app to do it all.

Here’s a couple of screen captures from the app.

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Edit: I just realized (thanks to Ray in the comments), that ND Timer does have a timer. I’m not sure if it didn’t used to have one, or I just missed it (most likely the latter) but it does indeed have a timer. That said, I still like the timer in Slower Shutter a little better.

Want to Learn More About Long Exposure Photography?
If you’re new to this long exposure photography stuff, and none of this ND filter talk makes sense to you then you may want to check out my Creative Live course on Long Exposure Photography. It’s been really popular and I can’t tell you how much great feedback I’ve gotten from it.

Have a good one!

Comments

  1. Mike Wong

    Hey Matt! Thanks for the shout out for my app. I really appreciate it. @J.R. Maddox & @Steve L – would love your feedback and thanks for the support!

  2. Ray

    Nice writeup. Just an FYI…. Not sure what version of NDTimer I have but it does have a timer built in.

    Will checkout ‘Slower Shutter’

  3. R. Scott Duncan

    Great post Matt. I love long exposure as well. I’m using a different ND application and also real happy i do have timer on my camera. Is Slower Shutter not available for Android? I’d like to try it. Happy holidays!

  4. Stephen Foster

    Always… I repeat always promote friends apps… especially if they are cool and do what is needed to be done.

  5. Chris.

    I have ND Timer and it is great even works when the iPhone goes to sleep and also has a timer and able to stack filters, I also just bought this app and when iPhone goes to sleep so does the app, thanks anyway.

  6. Lisa May

    Too bad there is not a Slow Shutter Speed App for the Mac desktop…love reading your stuff Matt, learned lots from you!

  7. Chris

    I was coming here to say the same thing as Ray. I forget when I watched the class and grabbed that app. It had a timer in it then. It’s one of my favorite photography things to do. I’ll have to check out this app since I have a little bit of money left in iTunes. Just one question do you still use and recommend the Lee Big Stopper or is there another ND filter you like?

  8. Shane

    Why Oh Why, do app developers always do an IOS version and not Android?
    Do they think all photographers use iPhone only or is it a status thing?
    Or if you don’t use an iPhone you are not a good photographer!?

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hey Shane – there’s a few reasons. First, I know Mike is a Mac user and uses an iPhone. So my guess is that he’d make an app that he can use on his phone, rather than yours. Also, iOS apps just sell better than Android apps do (at least in the photography space). I know there’s more Android users out there, blah blah blah… But trust me, after having seen the backend and financials of many business that do apps for both platforms, you’d be amazed at how staggering the differences are and how the iOS apps outsell the Android by huge numbers – for most, it just doesn’t make sense to invest in making the Android app.

  9. Mark

    This is a nice looking app. I like the large countdown indicator at the top of the screen. I’ve been using ND Timer for the past couple of years (which does have a timer, hence the “timer” in the name), but that app has one big limitation: the timer alert you when the app is in the background. The page for this app on iTunes says it does run in the background.

    This one doesn’t allow you to stack filters like ND Timer, but it’s certainly easy enough to add my 6 stop + 10 stop in my head then set the app for 16 stops.

    One drawback on all apps in this category is they can’t account for rapidly fading or increasing light, so your shots right before sunrise and right after sunset can be over/under exposed if you don’t plan for the changing light.

  10. Catherine Martin

    Incredible that you are writing about this app as I just read Mike Wong’s article over at lynda.com a few days ago. I’ll definitely get the app – thanks Matt!

  11. Vaughn

    Another well written post, thanks. Slightly off topic, I’ve been waiting to see your Mt. Rainier class on Kelbyone. Did it get posted and I missed it? I imagine I’m not the only one hoping to see it. Thanks

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hey Vaughn – I think they’re putting the finishing touches on it now. Not sure when it’ll be released but I’m thinking January-ish. I’ll make sure I post it here.

  12. Thijs

    Looks great!
    It would be great if it support the camera’s with WIFI so you don’t have to configure anything in the app anymore, but the app connects directly to the camera to manage the process.

  13. Dave

    Long Exposure Calculators app for iPhone. It’s by Iiya Genkin Photography. All kinds of excellent info.

  14. Brett Despain

    Thanks for the tip Matt. That app looks pretty useful. Best of luck to you at onOne Software. When I read that you’d taken a position there, I decided I’d better take a look at the Perfect Photo Suite. So far, I’m impressed! But I will have to upgrade the memory on my iMac 5K to keep away from the “spinning pinwheel of death”. Ah well, just more fun stuff to buy 😉

  15. Josh S

    For everyone that wants to “click and forget” solution instead of using a watch or phone as a timer, there are cable releases out there that you can program in the exact exposure time you want, and use it with the camera in bulb mode. I’m using a knockoff of the Canon TC-80N3 from a company called “Shoot” that I bought for less than $10 and it works great. The Vello shutterboss as seen in lots of Matt’s videos should be able to do this as well.

  16. Mat J.

    Great blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused ..
    Any tips? Appreciate it!

  17. Paul

    Just bought Slower Shutter a little late in the game but its class act and works great. No clutter, no games, just click-click-boom and your ready to go! Love it!
    Thanks Matt!!

  18. rich

    I just bought this based on the review but I am new to this ND malarki so please guide me here!
    Im using a nd1000 – the app seems only to go upto a ND16? or are these numbers refferring to stops. therefore setting it to 10 is the ND1000?

    1. Author
      Matt K

      Hi Rich. Yes, 10 is 10 stops. 16 is 16 Stops. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen any filter go higher than that.

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