Bulb mode

Tutorial to learn how to use bulb mode on a camera

We have learned how to adjust shutter speed on a camera, but there is another way to use this setting, and that is by controlling the exposure time, i.e., “Bulb mode”. In this tutorial, we will learn what bulb mode is and how to use it.  You need to know how to adjust the shutter speed in order to fully understand bulb mode.

What is bulb mode? 

Bulb or pose B mode is a mode that acts on the exposure time without determining it in advance. 

It allows you to control the exposure time while shooting. When you press the shutter release button to open the shutter, it will remain open until you release the button.

A tripod or a remote control is mandatory for avoiding motion blurring when in bulb mode, plus pressing the shutter release will be more manageable. Press once to open the shutter. It will close only when you press the button again. 

Set the exposure to M (manual) and increase the exposure time to the maximum. After a shutter speed of 30 seconds, the camera will switch to bulb mode.

When to use bulb mode

This mode allows us to photograph scenes requiring exposure of more than 30 seconds. We usually use it to take photos at night, capture fireworks, lightning, or for the purpose of light painting. Some photographers use it during the daytime for taking different kinds of pictures, such as water streams, making the water look silky smooth and magical, or photographing moving clouds in the sky.

The equipment you’ll need for bulb mode:

These filters are numbered, which indicates the degree of opacity of the filter, and it also corresponds to the multiplier value of the exposure time. It is possible to assemble several filters together, but if you do that, you will run the risk of vignetting
For Example, an ND8 filter screwed to an ND1000 filter will give you a total attenuation factor of 8000 times the initial exposure time.

There are two types of ND filters: 

Neutral Density filters (ND)
ND filters on filter holders

The photo with the longest exposure time:

The photo with the longest exposure in the world was taken by the German photographer, Michael Wesely, during the construction of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exposure time was three years (from 2001 to 2004).


Long exposure is an extraordinary world, but it is also difficult and requires a lot of practice.  In order to become a master of exposure time, you will need to test several techniques and materials. Once you find what suits you best, the fabulous world of long exposure will be yours! Please give us your opinion on this article, and also share your experiences in the comments.
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Have a nice photoshoot! 


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