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Experimenting with Shutter Speed Creatively

Experimenting with Shutter Speed Creatively

So what exactly is shutter speed? In its simplest form, shutter speed refers to the length of time that your camera sensor is exposed to light, or the shutter stays open, while taking a photo. A faster shutter speed lets in less light and a slower shutter speed lets in more light. We’re going to be looking at how you can use the time that the shutter is open creatively.


Freezing Motion
This technique of freezing a moment in time is used a lot for sports photography. Capturing and freezing that moment when a player strikes a ball, a runner crosses a finish line or just as that tackle is being made on the field can be accomplished with the right camera settings. Set your aperture to an aperture setting of f/2.8 or f/4.5. This will allow for a quicker shutter time, which will in turn freeze the action. If you’re shooting a sporting event in the sunlight, you may need to have your shutter time set to 1/1500 or faster. Try and anticipate the action and release the shutter at the moment you think it will happen. Be aware that your focus will need to be spot on. With a wide aperture, you run the risk of not focusing and missing a shot.
This is a technique where your moving object appears in focus, but the background appears to be moving at a higher speed. When using this technique, pick a subject that moves across your field of vision from side to side and isn’t coming toward or moving away from you. Pre-focus at the distance where the subject will be when you shoot. This is because autofocus can easily switch your camera focus to the background, instead of keeping it on the subject. For example, if you’re shooting a car, pre-focus on the road or area where the car will be. Then aim your Canon camera from in the direction that the car is coming from, and when it is almost in front of you, hold down the shutter button that you’ve set to high-speed burst mode and move your camera with the car’s movements.


Slowing it down

Slow shutter times are when you leave the camera shutter open for much longer than normal. This is a highly creative effect. It helps you show motion like movement in a crowd, light trails or fast flowing water. With slower shutter speeds, a tripod from is necessary to avoid camera shake. You can also invest in a remote shutter release or cable release to minimize shake even more. When your shutter is open for long periods of time, you risk having too much light enter your camera. To help with this, you can use a smaller aperture, shoot at a low ISO, or cut the amount of light using filters.

Light painting
This technique is where you make images in a dark place by moving a hand-held light source while your shutter is open. A tripod is recommended, but nothing is wrong with a little blur in this case. Once you’re ready, dial in a slow shutter speed and set up a timer. Now use any handheld light source like a torch, flashlight, light-stick or cellphone to “paint” in your scene. Now go out and practice these techniques. Take several shots and see what works for you.
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