Learn how to use different shutter speeds to creatively enhance your picture taking process.

If you’ve gotten comfortable with using multiple exposure combinations of shutter speed and aperture, it is well worth your while to try your hand at something more exciting such as using shutter speeds to enhance your images. Now, the shutter is capable of either freezing motion with a fast shutter speed, or purposely depiction motion blur with a slow shutter speed. If you can understand that, then the doors of creativity open up to offer vast possibilities.

Slow shutter speeds are usually much more commonly made us of to add a bit of creativity to an image. When using slow shutter speeds, you need to ensure that the camera is firmly mounted on some sort of support if not a tripod; you want to portray the feeling of motion on one object alone, not blur up the entire image with a camera shake!

So, if you are ready to take your first motion blur image, look for moving subjects and get your exposure right with the exposure meter. Depending on the velocity of the subject, you need to prioritize your shutter speed. Let’s take an example of something like a person looking at a train passing by in at a subway station.

A shutter speed of something like 1/15 of a second should be just right to blur the train but not the person (as long as he or she is relatively still). You could just get away with shooting at 1/15 sec hand held without a tripod, but nothing slower! An image of the train showing a motion blur works so much better than everything in sharpness with a fast shutter speed – it conveys a feeling of motion and becomes a much more informative image.

Another classic subject to practice with slow shutter speeds is to shoot moving car trails. For this, you WILL need a tripod. Use a shutter speed as slow as 30 seconds and point the camera at moving traffic. The vehicle lights show up as trails! This adds a lovely touch to the image if you have impressive buildings in the background, or an interesting landscape…

If you would like to experiment with shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds, you could set the camera to ‘BULB’ mode which keeps the shutter open for as long as you hold it down. Now, holding the shutter down with your finger can possible cause camera shake even if mounted on a tripod; the professional way around this is to get yourself a camera remote that can be ‘locked’ down.

Try shooting water bodies at twilight with exposures of1 or 2 minutes at something like f 16 or f22; you will get a super sharp landscape with the water having acquired a silky smooth feel! Try this with landscapes with moving water, or even the sea…

To practice with faster shutter speeds, try freezing running athletes or birds in flight with speeds such as 1/500 or 1/1000 sec…

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