In my earlier article, I did some explanation on Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the setting on your camera that decides how long the shutter should open. The longer the shutter opens, the more the amount of light is captured on the sensor. This is a mirror though, behind it is the shutter, which is right in front of the sensor.
In this article, I will be explaining on how you could use shutter speed to your advantage.
Many do not realize that faster shutter speed actually help reduce shake.
Firstly, one must understand why do shakes happen. I’m sure all of you would’ve notice by now that shakes tend to happen when taking photos under less optimal lighting condition. What’s the logic behind it? Simple, when there’s less lighting, the camera would have to prolong the duration where the shutter opens, in order to compensate for the lack of light so that enough light is absorbed by the sensor. This rule applies to all form of image capturing device.
Shake also increases as the camera zooms in further on subjects. Here’s how the logic works, each movement on the camera body is magnified by each additional distance added to the focal distance of the camera.
This means that if you were to focus on a subject that’s say 6-feet away from you, each movement on your camera isn’t as evident as compared to focusing on a subject that’s 60-feet away from you even though the movement is unchanging.
Now look at the diagrams below. In the first diagrem, I used 3 green lines to indicate the central plane and also the planes 5 degrees upwards and 5 degrees downwards. The blue arrows indicate the variance between the 2 extremes.
In the next diagram, notice how the variance increase as the subject is further away in distance even though the planes remain at the same angle. Each movement is magnified for each additional distance from the camera.
The Focal Length Reciprocal Rule
This is the general rule used by photographers to know the minimum shutter speed setting in order to avoid shake in photos when it comes to hand-holding a camera.
This idea is to use a shutter speed that is equal or faster than the reciprocal of the focal length. So if you’re shooting at 300mm, ideally you would need at least 1/300th of a second.
For the digital photographers, you will have to find out what’s the crop factor in order to utilize this rule more effectively.
So let’s take a Canon EOS 450D paired with an EF 70-200 F4 L IS USM lens and we’ll be using the formula below
Minimum Shutter Speed = 1/(Focal Length x Crop Factor)
So assuming you’re going at 200mm with the Canon EOS 450D that is of a 1.6x crop factor, the calculation would look like
Minimum Shutter Speed = 1/(200 x 1.6)
So your minimum shutter speed will come to
Minimum Shutter Speed = 1/320
🙂 So there ya have it! Learn to use this rule to help reduce the chance of your shots turning out shaky.
This is a no-brainer, very fast shutter speed for a really short exposure to freeze the moment. It could be a kid running around, a bird in flight or anything else that’s in motion.
Notice how the fast shutter speed freezes not just the person sliding but even the water splashes.
The faster your subject moves, the faster the shutter speed should be. Again, notice how the fast shutter speed freezes the motion of the swimmer.
As you can see, fast shutter speed is crucial when it comes to capturing moments, especially when the moment involves fast movements. That’s why people love lenses with wide apertures, more available light coming through the lens at any point of time also mean the shutter is only required to open for a shorter duration.
Fast shutter speed is very useful, especially when it comes to sports.
Opening the shutter for longer periods could help you achieve stunning visual effects, like turning flowing water into strands of white strings. As the shutter opens, the sensor continues to absorb any form of light that lands on it.
Or just plain capturing lights from a distant source. See, when the lights are far away, it takes longer for the light to reach the sensor. In cases like seen in the picture below, the light was not only far away but they also not bright enough so the shutter was open for quite a while for the sensor to absorb as much light as it can to get a decent exposure.
Long exposure shots are typically not handheld. I know some people could actually do it but they could only survive probably a 2 second shutter opening but anything beyond that they’ll have to rely on super powers of converting into a statue. Let’s not forget they can’t maintain the consistency.
Shutter Is Like Butter To Your Picture
Yes, knowing how to effectively use shutter speed adds to the value of your pictures just like how butter can make a food taste better but put too much butter and you screw up the food.
🙂 Knowing how to use adjust for a faster shutter actually increases the number of successful shots. It wouldn’t be nice to have a great composition to have it all spoiled by shaky hands, right?
When all else fails – remember the TRIPOD!