Slow shutter speeds: how to achieve consistent exposures every time

Slow shutter speeds: how to get consistent exposures up and down the scale

Getting the basics right first

Using slow shutter speeds: getting the basics right first

Left to its own devices, Sam’s camera has failed to record some of the detail in the brightest areas of this scene.

When we arrive at the beach we start off by shooting the colourful beach huts lining the shore. While Sam is keen to experiment with different shutter speeds, first I get her to concentrate on her camera’s basic exposure settings.

This allows her to focus on getting the correct exposure, rather than getting hung up about the actual shutter speed and aperture settings.

I get her to switch her camera to Aperture Priority (Av) exposure mode and set an aperture of f/8.

Facing away from the sun I get Sam to take a shot, and then take a look at the image on the back of her camera. Changing the display from normal image playback to the histogram and highlight warning allows Sam to see how the camera has dealt with the scene.

Using slow shutter speeds: getting the basics right

However, under-exposing by -2/3 EV has resulted in a much better shot.

The graph reveals that although the camera has done pretty well, some of the highlights on the lightest beach huts are over-exposed.

I show Sam how to use her camera’s exposure compensation function to alter the exposure and shoot again. This time, by dialling-
in -2/3 EV she quickly captures an image where all of the tones are recorded correctly.

PAGE 1: How to get consistent exposures at slow shutter speeds
PAGE 2: Getting the basics right first
PAGE 3: How your histogram can help
PAGE 4: How to deal with contrast
PAGE 5: The process of experimenting at slow shutter speeds
PAGE 6: Shot of the Day

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