The shutter speed on a camera can be used to control exposure, but it can also be used as a creative tool to capture movement either by freezing it or emphasising it by creating trails of movement. The camera’s shutter is like a curtain that opens and closes to let light in/ expose a photo, the speed refers the time that the shutter remains open. The longer the shutter speed, the more light let it but the more blurred movement will be captured.
|Camera Settings||Adverse Side Effects|
|Faster Shutter Speeds:||↑ ISO Speed
|↑ image noise
↓ depth of field
|Slower Shutter Speeds:||↓ ISO Speed
As a rule the faster shutter speed you want to use, perhaps to freeze a moving subject in motion, the wider aperture you will need and vice versa if you want to slow motion down to a blur. But each has it’s limitations and shooting difficulties as demonstrated in the graph above.
Shutter speed can be altered to create the impression or suggestion of movement, blurring or image trails can be used to convey this effectively, eg. a dancer spinning with blurred clothes or a a ferris wheel spinning at nighttime creating light trails, or a stationary person standing amongst a moving crowd. All of these would be achieved with slower shutter speeds. The challenge of shooting with slow speeds means image clarity and sharpness decreases as well as the ability to hold your camera by hand or shooting portraits. I have experimented with capturing movement below (hover over images to see capture details)
The series above demonstrates how shutter speed effects the capture of a subject in motion, starting with a slow shutter speed of 1/4 going up to 1/125. The slower shutter speeds made the cloth seem almost liquid and became more opaque, a whisper of a white against the dark background. With the faster shutter speeds although the whole sheet wasn’t completely frozen in time parts of it were, meaning we can see the texture and depth of the cloth with only an impression of movement. I prefer the bottom two aesthetically as I think it conveys movement whereas the top images look more abstract. My only critique is the focus is slightly out, this was probably down to me slightly mis-focusing on manual mode.
Creating light paintings by setting the camera to ISO 100, f5.6, 36mm and 13 second shutter speed. I experimented with a variety of techniques to create a different rage of effects and atmospheres in my photos. I moved my initial experiments into the setting of my bed because a lot of my work focuses around my bed it’s relationship to my mental health.
I created these images by holding up lights to my face, taking it away and moving to a different position and repeating. I ended up with these pictures as a result and I was pleased with them. A common symptom of mood disorders is insomnia and sleep paralysis and I believe these are an emotive and visual representation of that.
In these images I used the light source to convey a different message. I have also been exploring the relationship between mental health and social media. In the two photos above I thought about self censorship (left image) and how much time we spend on social media (right image). I was pleased with the images but would love to reshoot and try and expand these concepts further.
Hover for capture info
I wanted to capture water over the subjects face in way that made it looked surreal, to do this I tried to capture the movement with slow shutter speeds.
At this shutter speed the water stops looking like individual droplets and begins to blur into one continuous drip. Widest aperture and high ISO used because of the low lighting conditions.
Faster shutter speeds can capture fast movement subjects in action, best used in sports photography, nature photography, capturing water droplets etc. However shooting at high speeds does have its disadvantages, like timing the decisive moment just right which can be missed by a fraction of a second. Fast shutter speeds will also be harder to use in low lighting as you’ll need a lens with a wide aperture in order to compensate for lack of light let in by the shutter, this is why faster lens are more desirable to photographers as they have less limitations.
I’ve literally always want to do this but wasn’t sure how to, until now. Taken on my camera’s fastest shutter speed 1/4000 to capture the very moment the balloon bursts, so much so that you can still see that the water has retained some of its shape after bursting and the flour showering away. Could have reduced the ISO to 1600 as there is some noise, and aperture could have been lower but as I was shooting on semi -automatic TV mode the camera was flicking between f-stops for me. Shot with manual focus.
Panning is a shooting technique that allows subject to stay sharp while the rest of the image appears blurred. To achieve this the camera has to either be moving at the same speed as the subject or tracking the subject as it moves and moving the frame with it. Additionally you must have a slow enough shutter speed that the background is blurred while the subject is not, too slow a shutter speed and the whole image will be an indistinguishable blur.
My first panning attempts
I took these on a focal length: 33mm, f22, Shutter Speed: 1/100. My aperture had to be narrow as I was shooting on a bright sunny day, my ISO was set to 100 and couldn’t go any lower and as I was shooting at lower shutter speeds I did not want my photos overexposed. I found that shooting moving objects is very difficult, knowing when to push that shutter at the right moment and keeping the camera moving at the right speed to create the desired effect. I believe the top left image is my most successful as the car remains fairly sharp and the background blurs enough to give the impression of it moving at a speed.
- 35.0 mm
Shutter speed reduced slow enough to capture movement, but just fast enough than I could keep the bus in focus when I took the photo, result is blurred background creating the impression of movement. I was very happy with these outcomes