Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Basics of Manual Settings–Part 2–Shutter Speed

So, yesterday we learned ISO.  Now, lets talk about shutter speed.

Your shutter speed dictates how long your camera takes to take a photo.  Depending on your camera, you can take photos that are only 1/1000th of a second long, or photos that are hours long.

The way shutter speeds are typically notated is either as a fraction (1/30), as just the denominator for shutter speeds under 1/2 a second (30), as the number of seconds (2'” or 2.5” or 2-5”… just look for the second symbol – a quotation mark “) or as B aka Bulb.  Bulb is when the shutter will stay open as long as you hold down the button.  More on that later.

There are a bunch of reasons you could want control over your shutter speed.

Let’s tackle shutter speed in hand held photography.  When you hand hold a photo, being human and all, you can only take a photo for so long before you start to introduce shake into the photo from your movement.  The general rule is, whatever your focal length is, that as the denominator should be your slowest hand held shutter speed.  For example, if you are shooting a 50mm lens, you shouldn’t shoot hand held any slower that 1/50th.  With a 300mm zoom lens, you shouldn’t shoot hand held any slower than 1/300th of a second.  Now, some of us are steadier.  If you take a breath, let it halfway out, hold it and squeeze the shutter it helps.  When shooting digital, if you really have no other option, just try to steady yourself and take a bunch of shots and hope one is sharp.

The second reason to control shutter speed is to capture motion.  A fast shutter speed will freeze a moving object in a photo.


A slower shutter speed will show movement in the photo (this is a good time to use a tripod so your background is steady).  This is especially fun with any type of moving lights.

IMG_0217 edit

So, now you know the main reasons to use certain shutter speeds, hopefully you understand a little more about the usefulness of ISO settings from yesterday’s post.

For example.  If you are set at ISO 400 and can’t get your shutter speed faster than 1/30th, and want it at 1/60th, you would move your ISO to 800.

Tomorrow – Aperture

And to completely kill any mystery and let you know what to anticipate, here’s how it’s going to go:

Stops – Hopefully with a Crafty tutorial that will help with your metering!
In Camera Metering

Then I’ll be going into a series on Night Photography!!

It’s getting really exciting around here, people!  Okay, well, I’m excited at least.

Shasta Betty

1 comment:

  1. This is perfect. I've taught myself so much with my digital camera since I bought it 4 years ago, but now I'm learning more! (and that which i taught myself makes sense to me now. Now i know WHY, not just HOW.) Can't wait for the next lesson :)