Recently we’ve covered the basics of aperture, one element that adds to exposure in photography. This week we’ll focus on a second element; shutter speed.
The shutter on a camera is a barrier between light and your photograph. When you press the shutter release (the button on the top of the camera) the camera will open the shutter and take a photograph. Adjusting how long you want your shutter to remain open during a photograph is essentially adjusting the shutter speed. Altering the shutter speed will alter how long an image is exposed to light and will affect your photo drastically.
Shutter speed is measured in fractions of seconds. The larger the denominator, the faster the speed and the darker the photo. All cameras are different, but more often a fast shutter speed would be seen as anything over 1/500th of a second or on some modern cameras even up to 1/8000th of a second!
A faster shutter speed not only means a darker photo, but also a crisper motion and in some cases can eliminate or “freeze” motion altogether in a photograph. This is because shutter speed alters two specific things in photographs: brightness and movement.
Here’s an example of how shutter speed affects motion. The photo on the left shows an image with a long shutter speed, and the one on the right shows an image taken with a fast shutter speed. You’ll notice that the photo on the left looks blurred and like the surfer was moving, while the photo on the right looks crisp and almost like someone pressed “pause” on the surfer to take the picture. For fast shutter speeds remember to have good light and a wide aperture.
Although after seeing the effects of both speeds you may be thinking why would anyone use a slow shutter speed in photography, slowing down your shutter speed can benefit you in a few ways. If your subject is too dark slowing down the speed of your shutter can let more light into the camera. You can also use a slower shutter speed to introduce some blur into your photo for a creative effect. Here are a few examples of how a slow shutter speed can emphasize aspects of a photograph.
It’s important to remember that when you use a slower shutter speed, everything that moves in the lens will blur. As long as you remember this, you’ll be able to harness this effect in a constructive way.
Kwilt not only wants to protect your photos & videos, we also want to make sure they’re picture perfect. Want to learn more? Let us know what topic we should cover next in our Shoot Like a Photography Pro Series!