If you are like me, knowing what shutter speed to use when you are trying to capture a particular type of action can be confusing at times. So I’ve put together a little ‘cheat sheet’ to help you get a good idea as to which shutter speed to use for particular shots.
In terms of how to use this ‘cheat sheet’ I recommend you print it off, stick it in your camera bag and, whenever you get a chance to shoot something more tricky, have a look at it and try out the relevant shutter speed. Alternatively, find yourself a willing volunteer to practice with!
Before you get started; Put your camera into ‘Shutter priority’ mode; to do this set your aperture setting to ‘A’, the ISO setting to Auto and moving your shutter speed dial off the ‘A’ position. This ensures you only need to worry about the shutter speed that you choose and nothing else.
Star jumps at 1/4000 to freeze motion
Important tip! As a good rule of thumb, always use a focal length that is equal to or less than the shutter speed when not using a tripod – this will help against unwanted blur in your images. For example if the shutter speed is 1/30, you should shoot with a focal length of 30mm or wider (28mm, 18mm, 16mm etc).
Walking fast at 1/250 to freeze motion
Walking fast at 1/15 for motion blur effect – panning the camera with the subject
Walking fast at 1/4 for motion blur effect – camera on tripod
Important tip! If you find that using a slow shutter speed makes your image overexpose consider shooting with an ND filter or shoot at sunset/sunrise.
These are just a few examples to get you thinking about which shutter speed to use – the cheat sheet should assist with other types of shots.
The most important thing to do is just go out and try them, don’t worry about getting it wrong and blurring your shots, as over time with practice you will start to get the shots that you were hoping to get.
If you have a friend that is interested in photography go and learn this with them. You can bounce ideas off each other to create some great shots. And… you can get them to perform star jumps for you until you get them perfectly sharp and in focus!
Until next time
Happy snapping! :-)