Motion Blur: what shutter speed should you use?

    | Photography Tips | 28/11/2012 17:02pm

    It’s often said that you need to use a shutter speed of 1/60sec to 1/125sec when panning to create motion blur. But is this the case for all subjects? Below we’ll share one of our best DSLR tips on how how to set up your camera to capture effective motion blur, whatever your subject may be.

    Motion Blur: what shutter speed should you use?

    Shutter speeds of between 1/60sec and 1/125sec sec work well with fast-moving targets, like cars and motorbikes, especially when you’re using a long telephoto lens.

    However, if what you’re shooting is moving more slowly, you’ll need a slower shutter speed to give the effect of motion blur in the background.

    This is even more true if you’re using a lens with a shorter focal length, like an 18-55mm zoom lens. Shutter speeds as slow as 1/4 sec may be required at the wide-angle end of the zoom range.

    Very slow shutter speeds make it hard to keep the subject sharp. However, if the target you’re tracking is quite close in the foreground, use a flashgun in conjunction with a slow shutter speed.

    The short pulse of flash will freeze foreground objects, but the background, which is effectively out of range of the flashgun, will have motion blur.

    Set up your camera for effective motion blur


    Set up your camera for effective motion blur: step 1

    01 Slow-sync
    Slow-sync flash helps to balance the flash with ambient lighting. This is set by default in Av shooting mode in Canon cameras. Even so, unless lighting is dull, the shutter speed may not be slow enough.


    Set up your camera for effective motion blur: step 2

    02 Shutter priority
    You can slow the shutter speed right down in Shutter priority mode, but avoid over-exposed images even at the lens’s smallest aperture, shown by a blinking aperture display in the viewfinder.


    Set up your camera for effective motion blur: step 3

    03 Second-curtain
    When panning with slow exposures and flash, it’s often preferable to have the flash fire at the end of the exposure rather than at the beginning. This is called second-curtain or rear-curtain flash.


    49 seriously good Canon DSLR tips, tricks, shortcuts and time savers
    Shoot sharper sports photography: pro techniques and the settings they use
    Sports photography: tips for setting up your camera to shoot anything
    Download free photography cheat sheets

    Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 5:02 pm under Photography Tips.

    Tags: , ,

    Share This Page