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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Shutter Speed - When and How to Change


If you have recently upgraded your camera from a standard point and shoot to something with some advanced features you may a little lost in all the settings. Lets face it there are an awful lot of settings on some complicated cameras. Which is why I am looking to put together a series of guides to run through the basics on some of the more useful features on DSLR's or a Compact System Camera.
I have recently upgraded from just using my smartphone to using a Compact System Camera. To start with I just used the auto mode but I feel comfortable now with the camera and want to start experimenting and taking some better quality photographs.
My first guide covers Shutter Speed.
What are they?
One of the three main settings you will want to understand. The two being ISO and Aperture, these are covered in my other guides. Shutter Speed controls the time of exposure for the photograph of you are taking. If you are taking a picture of something fast moving then you want match this with a fast speed. this will reduce motion blur and freeze the action.
I would use a slower shutter speed if looking to take experiment with shooting light. So for example fireworks, and fairground rides. The kind of shot where you get that wonderful trail of light caused by the motion. Another example is the classic busy road at night where the car headlight leave a trail. the slow speed of the shutter closing gives a chance to create a sense of motion.
For a beginner you almost want the setting to just say fast or slow, but as you begin understand shutter speed you want to be a little more precise. Which means to start with the setting will be a little tricky to remember.
Firstly it is worth stating that the typical measurements in fractions of a second. If you were looking to use a fast speed to freeze the action you would set the shutter speed to somewhere between 1/500th to 1/1000th. The higher the second number is the less light is let in.
This brings me onto the other consideration, shutter speeds can be altered to give the impression of speed but also become important based on the time of day.
Slower Speeds at Night
As more might is being let into the lens with slower shutter speeds then it can help improve your nighttime shots. Although you have to be careful as if you slower the speed too much you will get a lot of blur.
Daytime shooting
On a lovely sunny day then you don't need to manipulate the amount of light into the lens. This usually means that you are more likely to select a faster shutter speed for daytime photography.
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