IOP – Mastering shutter speeds

This article contains my notes for the IOP course.

  • Anything below 1/60th of a second for the shutter speed and you will need a tripod.
  • Halving and doubling
    • e.g. f/11 and 1/250 shutter speed, move the aperture down one stop to f/8 will require you to move the shutter speed up to 1/500.
  • Changing the shutter speed is isolation is never a good idea as usually you also require to change the aperture and ISO settings.
  • Shutter speeds:
    • 1/1000 - Freeze fast moving objects (cars/motorcycles)
    • 1/500 - Freeze moving objects (bikes or joggers)
    • 1/250 - Freeze slow moving objects (slow moving animals/people walking)
    • 1/60 - Panning moving objects close to the camera
    • 1/30 - Panning moving objects a distance away from the camera
    • 1/15 - Panning slow moving objects( slow moving animals)
    • 1/8 - Blurring fast-flowing water close to the camera
  • To achieve a very sharp image you require the fastest shutter speed as possible.
  • And to achieve a blurred image you would require the slowest shutter speed possible.
  • When selecting your shutter speed you must consider camera shake, remember anything below 1/60th of a second will require a tripod.
  • Another important factor to consider in blur is focal length, this is because camera have is multiplied when zoomed in.
  • The general rule of thumb is 1/Focal length (mm) = Minimum shutter speed (seconds) e.g:
    • Focal length 50mm - Minimum shutter speed of 1/50
    • Focal length 600mm - Minimum shutter speed of 1/600
  • Remember to consider the crop factor in this calculation.
  • TOPTIP: Manufactures have ranges of lenses for cropped image sensor cameras like the nikon DX range, meaning you don't need consider the crop factor.
  • Panning tutorial:
    1. Get into a good position where you wont be disturbed and have a good range of movement.
    2. Rehearse your shot, practise moving the camera with the subject in the center of the viewfinder.
    3. Use shutter priority, start off with 1/60.
    4. As the subject approaches, track its progress smoothly.
    5. As you pan, half press the shutter button to focus.
    6. take the shot when your subject is in the center of the frame, gently press the shutter button to avoid any uneeded camera shake.
    7. Continue panning with your subject until the shutter closes.
    8. even after the shot has been taking, continue panning to keep the motion smooth.
  • Use continuos mode to improve the chances of getting it right.
  • Another technique is fixed point shooting, which gives you the opposite of panning, so the background is in focus and the subject is blurred.
  • Fixed point tutorial:
    1. Keep the camera focussed on a fixed point in the scene.
    2. Choose a slow shutter speed.
    3. Press the shutter button.
  • Architectural photography
    1. Get the camera setup on a tripod.
    2. Choose a shutter speed of 1 second.
    3. Take the shot.
  • This will create a perfectly exposed background in sharp focus and very blurred and almost ghostly image in front of it.