Understanding the Shutter Speed
The following list provides an overview of common photographic guidelines and uses for standard shutter speeds.
1- Shutter speed is measured in fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator the faster the speed (for instance 1/1000 is much faster than 1/30).
Slow Shutter Speed shows the motion blur.
2- In most cases you will probably use shutter speeds of 1/60th of a second or faster. This is because anything slower than 1/60th of a second can be difficult to use without getting camera shake. Camera shake is when your camera is moving while the shutter is open and results in blur in your photos. Even a slight movement can blur your shots!
The slower the shutter speed the more camera shake blur happens
3- If you’re using a slow shutter speed (anything slower than 1/60) you will need to use a tripod, monopod, or some type of image stabilization.
Using a Tripod stabilize the image while shooting in slow shutter speed or longer focal length.
Artistic use of Shutter Speed
4- Most cameras also give you the option for very slow shutter speeds that are not fractions of seconds but are measured in seconds (for example 1 second, 10 seconds, 30 seconds etc). These are used in very low light situations, when you want to create motion blur, or when you are going after special effects and/or when you’re trying to capture a lot of movement in a shot.
5 seconds shutter speed allowed me to draw the heart in our night time photography class
5- Some cameras also give you the option to shoot in “˜B” (or “˜Bulb”) mode. Bulb mode lets you keep the shutter open for as long as you hold it down.
Taking Firework photos using Bulb
6- When considering which shutter speed to use in an image, you should always ask yourself whether anything in your scene is moving and how you’d like to capture that movement. If there is movement in your scene you have the choice of either freezing the movement (so it looks still) or letting the moving object intentionally blur (giving it a sense of movement).
Using a tripod and slow shutter to capture motion blur
7- To freeze movement in an image (like in the shot below) you’ll want to choose a faster shutter speed and to let the movement blur you’ll want to choose a slower shutter speed. The actual speeds you choose will vary depending upon the speed of the subject in your shot and how much you want it to be blurred.
Fast Shutter 1/1600s to freeze the movement.
Stay tuned for my next article about “Some Rules of Thumb” and as always feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for new tutorials and tips.
Ted and the Omnilargess Team