First camera crash course: simple solutions for mastering your new DSLR

First camera crash course: simple solutions for mastering your new DSLR

First Camera Crash Course Lesson 3: How shutter speeds work

As explained on the previous page, the aperture and shutter speed work together to determine how bright your exposure will be. Like apertures, shutter speeds are also measured as ‘stops’, such as 1/250 sec and 1/125 sec.

Shutter speeds are easier to understand; a shutter speed of 1/60 sec lets in half the amount of light as 1/30 sec as it’s half the amount of time. The speed dictates the amount of time the shutter inside your camera stays open to let in the right amount of light.

First Camera Crash Course Lesson 3: photograph moving subjects

Moving subjects

  • When photographing fast-moving wildlife and sports, use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action
  • Shoot handheld for greater freedom to move and recompose as your subject moves

 

First Camera Crash Course Lesson 3: photograph static subjects

Static subjects

  • If the subject is not moving, you can use a slow shutter speed – if you avoid camera shake
  • Keep ISO low to reduce grain and noise appearing in your images
  • Use a tripod to ensure your new DSLR is rock-steady throughout the exposure and to ensure sharp shots

 

First Camera Crash Course Lesson 3: photograph in low light

Low light

  • Shooting scenics in low light and at night, a long shutter speed and a tripod will be necessary to capture an accurate exposure and sharp result
  • The 30-second shutter speed necessary for this night shot has captured ambient light in the sky and also blurred the water in the foreground

Shutter speed vs focal length

The longer your telephoto lens, the more that camera shake can become a problem.

To make sure the longer focal length doesn’t result in blurred shots, follow this simple rule, if you are not using a tripod: at least match your focal length with your shutter speed, so if you’re using a 300mm lens, make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/320 sec or higher.

Increase your ISO accordingly to achieve a fast enough shutter speed for sharp shots.

First Camera Crash Course Lesson 1: Aperture explained
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 2: using exposure compensation
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 3: How shutter speeds work
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 4: Fast vs Slow shutter speeds
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 5: How to focus and stay sharp
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 6: Choosing your AF points
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 7: How to get your subjects sharp
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 8: Avoid the common composition mistakes
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 9: Using the Rule of Thirds
First Camera Crash Course Lesson 10: Anatomy of your viewfinder

READ MORE

10 things photographers can do to stop wasting pictures
Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings to use)
Best shutter speeds for every situation (free photography cheat sheet)
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)