Home>Shutter Speed for Beginners
Shutter Speed – In simple terms its how long it takes the shutter to open and closes. This amount of time is known as your shutter speed. Most of the time it is a fraction of a second, and if you’re photographing very fast motion, like a car at 60 m.p.h. it needs to be at about 1/1000th of a second. If you’re subject is completely still, you can sometimes get away with a shutter speed as long as 1/40th of a second. When you increase your shutter speed, you do loose light so keep that in mind. Your image will get darker as your shutter speed increases. This will be very noticeable when you are in the lower light. We suggest you start out outdoors where there is plenty of light.
First, let’s find our shutter speed in our camera. On the main command dial on the top, you will find an S or and A/V depending on your brand. Nikon has an S on the Wheel; Cannon has an A/V. Turn the wheel to the S setting. You are now in Shutter Priority. When in this mode it means your priority is to tell the camera what shutter speed to use and the camera will miraculously pick the aperture for you.
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The general rule of thumb.
- Shutter speed should never be lower than 1/40th of a second without a tripod.
- 1/60th of a second is for subjects that are completely still.
- 125th of a second is good for subjects with a little movement.
- 1/250 of a second is good for someone who is jogging by.
- 1/500th is good for a car at 30 m.p.h. or so.
- 1/1000th is suitable for super fast moving subjects like eagles.
See the circle wheel on top>> of the camera? Look for your S or A/V here to go into Shutter Priority.
Keep in mind The faster the shutter speeds, the less light that will come into the camera! Your pictures become clearer when you increase your shutter speed, but it also blocks the light from coming in.
When you start practicing, go outside at first where there is plenty of light. It will be much harder and more complicated when you start losing your light. It’s pretty simple in the daylight so start there.
Once you read up on ISO, you can do your homework. Your homework is to go outside in the daylight with good sun. Put your ISO on 400 to let a medium amount of light come in. Find a fast moving subject like a car. Take a shot of the moving car making sure the focus is on the car as it goes by (most cameras have a red dot or an indicator of what they are focusing on.) Put your camera in 1/30th sec. Take a shot of the car. Is it clear? Now move to 1/100th of a sec. Take the same shot of a fast moving car. Is it clear yet? Do the same shot with each increment of shutter speed all the way up to 1/2000th sec. What is happening as you increase your shutter speed? Are your images getting clearer? Are they getting darker? Good. Because they are supposed to be.
Download your pictures to your computer and look at the metadata. If you don’t have a program, We suggest you click on one of our Corel ads and take a look at getting their software. Below is a good beginner program in the ad. We love it. On the bottom right side of the screen, it will show you the shutter speed, aperture and ISO of each image so you can review images and see what works. This is how you continue to teach yourself.
Now check out the rest of the beginner section and read up on ISO and Aperture and White Balance and then do your homework! Keep reading below for a little more advanced information. If you are getting confused then stop here and practice. Then get a grasp on ISO, Aperture, and WB before proceeding to the more advanced information. Waterfall Photography Simplified and How to Shoot Dark Sky Photography Pages will give you some real details on shutter speed that is very easy to understand. The links are below.
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