Best Tips for Pick the Shutter Speed in Photography

The first thing to understand is that photography (of still objects) works because of the exposure time, which means how long the camera shutter stays open. The longer it stays open, the more light you let into your lens and the brighter your photo will be. This is why fast-moving vehicles or athletes are hard to photograph- they move very quickly (and usually require a lot of light because it’s outdoors), requiring you to use faster shutter speeds like 1/2000 sec.

1 / 500th second at f8

Fast Shutter Speed Example

Here’s an example of what happens when you go too slow with your shutter speed: this shot was taken at about 1/15 sec., which caused me to capture my sons as blurry blobs rather than as distinct individuals.

1/15th second at f 4

Slow Shutter Speed; Blurry Subjects Example

So what shutter speed is the best for photography? The “magic” number happens to be around 1/60 sec (or faster). This allows you to capture moving subjects without sacrificing much in the way of sharpness or depth of field. However, there are times when you will want to slow your shutter speed down.

For example, taking photos at night requires a long exposure time which means that you need to use a tripod (and choose a wide aperture like 2.8) because slower shutter speeds mean longer exposure times and any shake or movement can cause blurriness resulting in badly composed photos.

3 Second Exposure at f11

Night photography example

It’s also worth noting that shutter speed is not the only aspect of photography that you can play around with to achieve different effects. For example, you can also adjust your aperture (the size of the lens opening) and ISO (sensitivity to light). But that’s a topic for another day!

Shutter Speed: The How-To

Now that you understand the basics of shutter speed, let’s look at how to manipulate it in photography. Just as a car needs more gas when going uphill, your camera requires a faster shutter speed when shooting fast action.  So if you’re photographing a runner, for instance, set your shutter speed to at least 1/500th of a second to freeze the motion.

1/320th Second at f5.6

Action photography example

Conversely, if you’re shooting a waterfall, you’ll want to use a slower shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. Try starting around 1/60th sec and adjust from there.

1/8th second at f22

Waterfall photography example

One thing to keep in mind when choosing your shutter speed is your aperture. The wider the aperture (the smaller the number), the less depth of field you will have in your photo. This means that only part of your photo will be in focus, while the rest will be blurry. Conversely, a narrower aperture (the larger the number) will give you more depth of field, meaning that more of your photo will be in focus.

Aperture:  Focal Range

As an example, if you have a subject that is close to you and you want it to be in sharp focus, you would use a smaller aperture (like f16 or f22). On the other hand, if you have a subject that is far away and you want it to be in focus as well, you would use a wider aperture (like f5.6 or even f2.8).

ISO: The Sensitivity to Light

The last thing to consider when adjusting your shutter speed is your ISO. This setting affects how sensitive your camera is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive your camera will be and the brighter your photo will be. However, this also means that you will get more noise or grain in your photo.

If you choose, photography can be more than just art. It is also science. When photography was born the only control on exposure time was how long you could sit with your finger on the shutter release before it started feeling like a workout. But photography has evolved since then and nowadays photographers have many creative controls to use when they are trying to achieve their vision of what an image should look like.

Find Your Range of Available Shutter Speeds

To start with, you need to find out what your camera’s range of available shutter speeds is. This can be found in the camera’s manual, or by looking through the menu options on your camera. 

Each camera is different, so there’s no one set rule for this. However, a good general guideline is that most cameras have a range of 30 seconds to 1/8000th of a second. Once you know what your range is, it will help you to better understand how to use shutter speed to create the look you want in your photos.

How Shutter Speed Affects Exposure

Shutter speed also affects exposure in photography. In very basic terms, a faster shutter speed will result in a shorter exposure time, and a slower shutter speed will result in a longer exposure time. This is what determines how much light is allowed to hit the camera’s sensor, and it’s controlled by the aperture and ISO as well. So, if you have a scene that you want to be perfectly exposed to, you will need to adjust all three of these settings accordingly – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

How to Manipulate Shutter Speed

Now that you understand how shutter speed affects your photos, let’s talk about how to manipulate it. As we mentioned before, each camera has a different range of available shutter speeds. However, within that range, there are a lot of different options for you to choose from. 

Each shutter speed represents a different amount of time that your camera’s shutter will be open, letting light in to hit your camera sensor. The longer the shutter is open, the more movement you are likely to see in the scene – whether it be motion blur or ambient motion. However, if you want crisp still photography, you could use fast shutter speeds like 1/250th or even 1/500th of a second to freeze any motion that might take place in your scene.

So what exactly would you use slow shutter speeds for? Well, they can come in handy when creating certain types of photography effects. For example, using long exposures at night is an easy way to create beautiful nighttime photography . You can also use a slow shutter speed to capture motion blur, as we mentioned earlier. This can be a great way to show the motion of something in your scene, like a car driving down the road or water flowing in a river.

How to Choose the Right Shutter Speed

Now that you understand all of these things, it’s time to put it all together and start using shutter speed to create beautiful photos. But how do you choose the right shutter speed for the scene you are photographing? 

Well, it depends on what you want to achieve with your photo. If you want to freeze any motion in your scene, use a fast shutter speed. If you want to show the motion of something in your scene, use a slow shutter speed. And if you want to capture the perfect exposure, adjust all three of your camera’s settings – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO – accordingly.

How do I use shutter speed creatively?

Shutter speed can also be used creatively to create interesting effects in your photos. For example, you can use a slow shutter speed to blur the movement of water or cars. This can add a sense of motion and dynamism to an image. Alternatively, you can use a fast shutter speed to capture crisp, sharp details. This is often used in photography sports shots where you want to freeze the action.

As you can see, shutter speed is an important tool that offers a lot of creative possibilities. By understanding how it works and using it creatively, you can take your photography skills to a whole new level. So experiment with different shutter speeds and see what works best for the images you want to create. You might be surprised by the results!

FAQ

What shutter speed setting should I use?

This is a question that photographers often ask themselves. The shutter speed setting can be used to control the amount of light that enters the camera lens, and it also affects the final photo outcome. In photography, shutter speed is one of the most important elements that you need to understand to produce great photos.

When it comes to shutter speed, there are two main factors that you need to consider: 1) how much light do you want in your photo? and 2) what type of photo effect do you want?

Is 1 4000 a good shutter speed?

This is a question that often comes up when people are first learning photography. The answer, of course, depends on the situation. But in general, shutter speeds of 1 4000 or faster are good for freezing action and capturing sharp details.

If you’re looking to capture photos of fast-moving subjects, you’ll need a fast shutter speed. This will prevent your photos from being blurry due to motion blur. Conversely, if you want to capture the movement of objects in your photos, you’ll need to use a slower shutter speed.

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