3 Ways Shutter Speed Can Improve Your Photos
October 10, 2013
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Each time you click the shutter button on your camera, you allow a specific amount of light to enter through the lens and onto the camera's digital sensor or a piece of film. The amount of time the shutter stays open is known as the "shutter speed."
Did you know this variable can be manipulated to improve your photos? Here are three ways, and reasons, to move beyond allowing the automatic exposure setting on your camera to do the work for you. You should give the time-value (TV) setting—which determines your camera's shutter speed—a good workout.
1. Reduce Blurry Photos
If you shoot a high school baseball game or your cousin's volleyball match and end up with nothing but blurry photos, a slow shutter speed may be to blame. When photographing fast action, such as running, swinging a bat or diving for a ball, use a speed of 1/200 (spoken as one-two hundredth of a second) or higher to help "freeze" the athlete's movements.
2. Brighten Dim Photos
Taking pictures indoors or during the evening is trickier than shooting on a sunny day. If your photos appear too dark, decrease your shutter speed so that the shutter stays open longer. This allows more light into the camera. Most photographers can hold a camera steady with a speed set as slow as 1/60.
3. Eliminate Camera Shake
If your favorite lens is in the telephoto range (70mm or greater), it can be tough to hold the camera steady. If your images are blurry, mount your camera on a tripod or monopod and increase the shutter speed. The rule of thumb is that you should never shoot slower than the inverse of the focal length of the lens. For example, if you're using a 200mm lens, don't choose a speed slower than 1/200.
Remember—adjusting shutter speed can dramatically improve your images, but it's just one photography technique that affects your exposures. You may also need to use an external flash unit, make adjustments to the aperture setting on the camera or adjust the ISO speed to create the perfect picture.
Photo credit: Stock.xchng