Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Changing Your Shutter Speed Will Change Your Life!

Back in the olden days when I knew nothing about, a few months ago, I used to think that shutter speed was only important when shooting things like sports or at night.  But I'm here to tell ya, I was wrong.

Shutter Speed is just as crucial to great exposure as Aperture and ISO.
My very basic definition of Shutter Speed is how long your shutter is open, which determines how much light is let into your photo.
The longer it's open, the more light that comes in, the lighter your photograph.
The shorter it's open, the less light that comes in, the darker your photograph.

The number values with shutter speed are the amounts per second your shutter is open...250th of a second...800th of a second...and so on.  When I'm trying to decide if I want to let in a little light or a lot of light I get confused sometimes when I'm thinking in numbers.  But I never get confused when I'm thinking of food so I do this little trick...I ask myself
"Do I want a piece of a pie that's cut into 250 pieces or a piece of a pie that's cut into 800 pieces?"  Obviously the pieces of a pie cut into 250 pieces are going to be larger than if it's been cut into 800 pieces...get it?
So if I want a lot of light I choose 250...if I want a little light I choose 800...

That's way too much math for me so here's a few photos to show how changing your shutter speed, and nothing else, can dramatically alter your portraits.

The glamourous shooting location for this little lesson is the shed in my backyard!
The sun was way too bright to shoot in so the shed was providing a great spot of open shade.
I shot with my back to the sun so my model could face the light source, which gives great catchlights
in the eyes, but still be evenly lit without harsh shadows.  

If you look at the pavers you can see very clearly the line of shade and sun.  There wasn't a ton of room but I just needed some close ups so it was perfect.

My model for all of 10 minutes was my Wild Child.  Ain't he pretty??

I set my camera to Manual mode.  My aperture was set at 2.5 and my ISO was 250.  I didn't change those settings for any of these photographs.  All I did was change my shutter speed...I started out at 640 and worked my way down to 200 which is the lowest standard shutter speed my Nikon d300s will go to.  
These photos are SOOC...not been touched at all.

You should be able to see pretty obviously the difference in the amount of light coming in from 640 shutter speed to 400 shutter speed.

Here's a few more...

I could have achieved the same results in coloring by changing my aperture but I wanted to maintain
a 2.5 aperture so I could blur out my background.  So by changing my shutter speed I didn't have to lose any creative aspect.  I love that!

So get out and experiment with your Shutter Speeds...ya never know what you might create!


Shonni said...

I must get out and practice more. Thanks for the encouragement and teaching here.

thrujenseyes said...

Thanks for the post...I must get outside and try this now!

Anonymous said...

Super simple tutorial. I needed this!

Thank you!

Bailey Smith said...

Great tutorial. Your kiddos are so beautiful! ...I mean handsome...(I have boys too.)

Susan said...

Thanks, finally it made some sense to me.

And your son...he is GORGEOUS!!!!

Bobi said...

omg… I know that this is a way old post but you don't understand how you've open my shuttered eyes to using the shutter speed. thank you I look forward to practicing this tomorrow.

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