St. Augustine Family Photographer | Danielle Brooks Photography
St. Augustine Family Photographer and Family Portrait Photography Studio. Specializing in Family Photography, Senior Portraits, and Head Shot Photography.

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St. Augustine photographer specializing in families, children, and seniors.

Get Your Camera Out of Auto...NOW! Pt. 2

Click, click, click, clickity click click! That was my impersonation of what sounds your camera makes when taking a photo. Pretty good, right? Well that noise, in case you were wondering is your cameras shutter opening and closing. There are 3 controls that you can change to determine the outcome of your photos: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Today we will be focusing on shutter speed. Here are some basic facts about shutter speed that should help you understand its function.

Your shutter speed is displayed in fraction form ( 1/125, 1/250, 1/1000, etc.) the bigger the denominator the faster your shutter opens and closes. So you would read those fractions as "one hundred twenty fifths of a second, two hundred fiftieths of a second." Let's say you're shooting outside in full sun. You are probably going to want a pretty high shutter speed because you don't want to let a lot of light in since it's already bright. Here are some examples of what I'm talking about along with the camera settings. Both the F-stop and ISO remain the same in this series.

F/3.5, 1/200, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/800, ISO 100

F/3.5, 1/3200, ISO 100

Notice how the higher the denominator the darker the photo gets? You're going to want to pay attention to that when you're shooting indoors. You'll need to lower your shutter speed. When you're shooting indoors there's less light so you'll want your shutter open for longer to let more light in. For lack of better photos, here are some examples using my snack as an example. All of these photos were shot indoors and are unedited. The F-stop and ISO remained the same throughout these photos.

F/2.2, 1/800, ISO 1000

f/2.2, 1/160, ISO 1000

F/2.2, 1/40, ISO 1000

Something to keep in mind is that when you're shooting in low light settings (indoors, or just after sunset) the lowest shutter speed you'll want is 1/100. Why? because when you go lower than that you run the risk of getting blurry photos. At that point I would suggest using a tripod. That way you can leave your shutter open longer without worrying about getting blurry photos. In all of the above photos, my camera was propped against the table for stability.

Shutter speed can also help you freeze action. Want to capture your little one on the soccer field? You're gonna need a higher shutter speed. Here are some examples along with the camera settings.

F/13, 1/100, ISO 160

F/2.5, 1/3200, ISO 160

Notice the difference in shutter speeds? My shutter speed is drastically higher in the second photo. This allows me to freeze the water midair as opposed to showing the movement of the water. It all depends on what look you're going for. Sometimes motion blur can be a good thing. Maybe you want to show how fast a car is going, or you want to show how the stars move across the sky at night. However you want to capture the moment will depend on your settings. Now depending on your shutter speed you will have to adjust your aperture, or F/stop, to compensate for light, but that is a whole other conversation which we will address tomorrow!

I have a small assignment for you. Take your camera and go practice taking pictures of cars, or a sporting event, or anything moving. Practice changing your shutter speed on the moving object. At what point do you start to get motion blur? How high does your shutter speed have to go to freeze an action? The point is to get out there and practice! I cant wait to see what you all come up with.