photography 101: shutter speed


Today I want to give you a couple of tips on how to control your shutter speed, that will allow you to show or stop motion. 
Shutter Speed: {The effective length of time the shutter is open}
To control your shutter speed, you will have to switch your camera dial to the shutter priority mode which is either an “S” “ST” or “TV” on an SLR camera. This controls the speed of the shutter. In this setting, the camera determines the correct aperture for the lighting condition, so the shutter speed is the only thing you control. You may have to see your user’s manual for how to adjust the shutter speed, mine is a little dial right near the top front of my camera. When you adjust your shutter speed, it changes the number that you can see in the pictures below. In these pictures below, the shutter is set to stay open for 1/125 of a second.
Shutter speed measures in fractions of second, so if you want to stop action, then set a high shutter speed. If you want to show action by blurring the image, then set a low shutter speed. When you want to take pictures with a high shutter speed, it only works when there is a lot of light, because the shutter is only open for a little amount of time, so if it’s not bright enough, then not enough light will get in and the picture can be dark. My lenses go up to 1/4000 of a second which is fast, and then it goes down to 30″ meaning the shutter stays open for 30 seconds. This is when you can get those pictures of lightning or car lights blurred on the highway. In order to capture the really low shutter speed shots, you need a tripod. Usually at around 1/30 you should think about using a tripod, because it gets harder for you to hold the camera perfectly still while the shutter stays open for so long. Also, when the shutter stays open for a long time, it allows a lot of light to come in, so if you tried to take a picture with a shutter speed of 5″ on a bright day like in the pictures below, it will be just a white blur because there is too much light coming in the lens…. trust me I tried it!
Take a look at the pictures below of Jackson doing a cannon ball in to our pool. You will notice how crisp the water is at a higher shutter speed and how blurry it gets at the lower number. 
Below Jackson wanted to jump in the pool with his little boogie board. You can notice the slight differences in the focus of the water as the shutter speed gets slower, from 1/1000 of a second all the way down to 1 second. The faster/higher number shutter speed stops the action, the slower/lower number shows action.
{I think water is such a fun way to show shutter speed, it looks like glass when you speed up the shutter speed, these were taken at the beach in Michigan last week}
Things to remember with shutter speed:
The higher the number = the faster the shutter will open and close = the more focus
The lower the number = the slower the shutter will open and close = the more blur
There are so many ways to show how cool shutter speed can be, like in sports, you can stop the action of someone dunking a basketball with a fast shutter speed or slow the shutter speed and have them blurred, making it look like they are going fast. Or try slowing your shutter speed and use a tripod to focus on a stationary object, like someone standing in front of a busy street. The person will stay in focus as long as they stand still and the traffic in the background will be blurred motion. So many possibilities!
So go out and have fun practicing with your shutter speed! 
If you have any examples of photos you have taken using these tips, just email them to me and I will pick some favorites and post them in a later post.

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