Most digital cameras have automatic settings for action shots, portraits and other types of photos, but if you really want to take your photography to the next level, you need to use a manual setting. In this post, we teach you how to set your shutter speed.
What is Shutter Speed?
The shutter is like a curtain that opens when you take a picture — the term snap comes from the snap sound the shutter make. This opening allows light to flow through the lens and into the camera’s sensor (or film, if you still use it). Becoming familiar with how to use different speeds will let you to take a variety of captivating photos.
How to Set Shutter Speed on Your Camera
To set your shutter speed, adjust the setting that is often displayed as a single number or a fraction. These numbers tell you how long the shutter will stay open (for example, 1/250th of a second). With DSLR cameras, you can set the shutter speed and still let the camera automate the other settings through “shutter priority mode,” which is generally indicated by an S or TV on your camera.
When to Use Fast Settings
A short exposure time essentially freezes quick movement, such as a bird in flight or the action during a basketball game. With the faster speeds, you have to ensure that there is enough light or the picture will be underexposed. If the light is low, you can still use the fast settings, but you should use a wide aperture setting and a higher ISO, as well.
When to Use Slow Settings
A slow shutter speed adds motion blur to the photo and can give a sense of movement in the image. It’s the preferred way to capture images of certain fast-moving subjects, such as fireworks, and provides a clear depth-of-field for the stationary objects in the photo. When using slower speeds, a tripod is essential or the image could be ruined by camera shake.
What About Long Exposure Time?
Long shutter speeds are used for certain types of landscape shooting and pictures of the stars’ movement across the night sky. For these images, the exposure time can be anywhere from a quarter-minute to many hours. Usually, you would need special equipment to take pictures like that.
Getting familiar with shutter speed settings on your camera requires more than information; it also requires practice. It’s helpful to jot down your settings as you adjust them initially so you can become familiar with how each affects the final image. With just a little practice, you will be able to take professional quality photos you can use to decorate your home.
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