These shutter speed tips will have you shooting like a pro in no time – but what is ‘shutter speed?” Basically, it’s a measure of how long the film or image sensor in your camera is exposed to the scene in front of the lens. Shutter speed measure time–how long the shutter is left open to let light in through the lens, while aperture measures the amount of light that is allowed to enter into the lens, depending on how wide the aperture opening is.
A slower speed lets your camera take in more light than a faster speed. It’s also important to have a proper understanding of exposure in photography.
The shutter speed you choose will affect how moving objects are recorded in your photograph: a slow speed, relative to how fast the object is moving, will record the movement as a blur in your photograph, while a fast speed will record the object as if it has been frozen in time. In other words you can use shutter speed to show motion, or stop action.
So the first of our shutter speed tips is that your choice of speed gives you the power to control time – at least in your photograph! In other words a fast shutter speed means that the shutter of you camera will be open a shorter period of time as compared to a slow shutter speed.
The second of out shutter speed tips is understanding exposure. Another thing that your shutter speed will dictate is how wide your aperture needs to be in order to ensure a well-exposed scene. If your shutter is ‘open’ to
light for a very short time, for example, you are using 1/2000 second, the shutter speed is going to open and shut very quickly. To compensate for this, you’ll need to open the aperture more to let in enough light to get proper exposure.
Considering your aperture and ISO settings when working with shutter speed is important because they all play an important role in getting good exposure.
One of the most important shutter speed tips has to do with whether you hold your camera in your hand or use a tripod.
You see, even if you were taking photographs of an ancient monument which (hopefully!) isn’t moving at all, a slow shutter speed easily lead to a blurry photo. Why? Well, no matter how hard you try, you can’t hold your camera completely still. And that means you’ll need a shutter speed that’s fast enough to freeze the motion that you yourself are injecting into the scene.
If you’re hand-holding a camera with a 50mm lens on it you’ll generally need a shutter speed no slower than a 1/50 sec. in order to ensure a crisp shot. For a longer lens you’ll need to go faster. It might sound complex, but actually this might be the easiest of our shutter speed tips to remember – just put a ‘one’ over the length of lens you’re using and you have your minimum speed right there – it even works for zoom lenses. For example, for a 50 millimeter lens, the slowest hand held shutter speed, should be no less than 1/50 second. For good measure you might want to at 10 to that and make it 1/60 second.
Keep Your Tripod Handy
You won’t want to miss the shot of that scene that calls for a slow shutter speed. If you want to use a slower speed than you can hand-hold your camera, you’ll need to put your it on something that won’t move. This is where a tripod – or even a handy wall – is indispensable (see our section on tips for night photography for more information on tripods).
Once you’ve got the hang of these handy shutter speed tips, you’ll find that using them becomes second nature and you’ll be have a strong understanding of exposure photography. Be sure to read around the site for more great tips on getting the most out of your camera and making the images you’ve always dreamed of.