Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings you should use)

Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings you should use)

Blur Action – 1/15sec to 1/250sec

Common shutter speed problems: too much movement

Too much movement
If everything is blurred in your shot, try using a faster shutter speed that will capture the subject sharply.

If this freezes all the action then the subject isn’t staying in the same position in the frame. This is where your new panning techniques come into play.

Common shutter speed problems: not enough movement

Not enough movement
If there isn’t enough blur in the background you need to use a slower shutter speed, otherwise your moving subject will look static.

If your shooting situation allows, you should try to alter the speed in small steps so that you can still get the main subject sharp.

Suggested shutter speeds for panning

  • Fast-moving cars, motorbikes or birds: 1/125sec
  • Mountain bikes close to the camera: 1/60sec
  • Mountain bikes, moving animals or running people: 1/30sec

What you can do
Using a burst of flash is a great way of ensuring that your subject is sharp when shooting subjects such as cycling and motocross.

It’s only useful when you can get close to the subject, though, so don’t expect it to make a difference to subjects such as motor racing if you’re a long  way from the action.


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Creative Blur – 1/15sec to 1sec

Common shutter speed problems: overexposure

At slow shutter speeds, it’s easy for areas subject to large amounts of movement, such as the sea, to create over-

Take a test shot at the suggested settings and take a look at the histogram (or highlight warning) display to make sure the highlights are correctly exposed.

Suggested shutter speeds for blurred motion

  • Fast-flowing waterfall: 1/8sec
  • People walking close to the camera, or waves and slow-moving water: 1/4 sec

What you can do
In bright conditions you may find it difficult to get your shutter speed below 1/8 sec, even using the smallest aperture and lowest ISO settings.

Fitting a polariser onto the front of your lens is a great way of reducing the amount of light reaching the sensor, allowing you to reduce the shutter speed by half or more.

PAGE 1: 1/250sec and faster
PAGE 2: 1/250sec to 1sec
PAGE 4: 1sec to 30secs or longer


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