At a basic level, shutter speed is used to control exposure, but it can also be used as a creative tool that freezes action or adds dramatic blur to moving subjects. In this tutorial we’ll explain some of the common mistakes you might encounter while trying to achieve the five classic shutter speed effects of freezing movement, blurring action, using blur creatively, long exposures and night photography.
After we look at some of the common problems within these shutter speed ranges, we’ll suggest the best shutter speeds for you to use to achieve these effects and offer our best tips for overcoming these errors.
As well as being one of the most expensive hobbies around, photography is also one of the more technical pastimes you can pursue. But it doesn’t have to be confusing!
We’ve spoken to numerous experts over the years, as well as photographers like you, who may either be just starting out or have been taking pictures for a while but keep encountering the same nagging problem. From all our conversations, we’ve noticed some common photography problems that seem to plague snappers of all ages and abilities.
Inside, we’ve put together 99 of the most common photography problems and offered solutions to get round them, so you never have to be in doubt ever again! We’ve offered a mix of camera tips, explanations, definitions and more to help answer your questions. And we’ve also provided links, where appropriate, to some of our photography tutorials covering these problems in more depth
There’s more to using a tripod than attaching the camera and firing away. Whether you’re using a budget model or an all-singing, all-dancing carbon-fibre tripod, there are some simple techniques you should use to get the best possible results.
One of the key ways to make the tripod as stable as possible is to use the strongest, most stable parts first. So use the thickest leg sections when initially setting the height. You should only raise the tripod’s centre column once you have used all of the leg sections.
Previously we showed you some of the common errors of night photography and how to fix them, and specifically within that tutorial we talked about making star trails. Now that you’ve had some time to try and achieve the effect in-camera using a long exposure, we thought we would show you how you can fake it and make star trails with a lot less hassle.
Capturing the movement of the stars across the night sky would normally involve exposures of several minutes, but on a digital camera this can result in unwanted noise. The easiest way to overcome this problem is to take a sequence of shorter exposures (of around 30 seconds each) and combine them into a single image in Photoshop.
The days may be getting longer, but (hopefully) they will also be getting warmer. Spring and summer are perfect times of the year to explore the world of night photography, but as you can imagine, there are many challenges when working with long exposures. Below we’ve identified 12 of the most common problems you’ll encounter when shooting night photography and offered our tips for overcoming them.
Do you have your own night photography tips, or perhaps problems you’ve encountered in your own night photography endeavours that we haven’t covered here? Why not share them in the comments!
While you can achieve a long shutter exposure easily at dusk and dawn, what if you want to use a long exposure during the day? The trick is to get yourself a strong ND filter (neutral density), which cuts out nine or 10 stops of light.
A long exposure can create milky water effects and is great for waterfall pictures, as well as blurred clouds in when shooting landscape photography; but that isn’t their only use. A long exposure is also handy for making moving subjects ‘disappear’ when you shoot buildings, street scenes or architecture. Sometimes it’s great to include people in a scene to give a sense of scale or location, but they can be distracting if you want a clean composition.
Waterfall pictures are some of the most satisfying subjects you can shoot with your digital camera. However, the fast moving water throws up some challenges for photographers.
Often, exposures end up disappointing – you may have set the wrong shutter speed, for instance, and won’t get the traditional blurred-water effect in your waterfall pictures. Other times the exposure ends up being too dark or light, due to having to cope with the combination of dark rocks and bright, foamy moving water.
We’ve collected 30 great examples of motion blur photography from around the web. If you want to know how you can achieve motion blur, our tutorial can help.
25 fantastic examples of light-trail drawings using long-exposure
Get into winter photography with our festive Things to try feature this month. Shoot birds and berries in snow and frost, capture the hustle and bustle of a Christmas market, take great family portraits and more…