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Camera settings for freezing or blurring motion

From: The Elements of Effective Photographs

Video: Camera settings for freezing or blurring motion

As you know, there are three components to exposure: one is aperture, one is ISO, and one is shutter speed. Before we talked about aperture and how it affects your depth of field, today we're going to talk about your shutter speed and how that affects your motion in your photograph. We have a helper here, Margo, who is going to help us with a series of photographs at different shutter speeds, to see exactly when we can stop the action. The first one we're going to do is that 1/2000th of a second.

Camera settings for freezing or blurring motion

As you know, there are three components to exposure: one is aperture, one is ISO, and one is shutter speed. Before we talked about aperture and how it affects your depth of field, today we're going to talk about your shutter speed and how that affects your motion in your photograph. We have a helper here, Margo, who is going to help us with a series of photographs at different shutter speeds, to see exactly when we can stop the action. The first one we're going to do is that 1/2000th of a second.

That should stop just about anything. The aperture will be probably around 2.8 to 4, and I'm working at an ISO of 100, because it's such a beautiful day here. So, let's see what happens here. Okay Margo! Yup, just as I expected. The motion is completely frozen. I think we will try it again at 1/250th of a second.

I am still going to be in the shutter priority mode, in automatic. Okay Margo! Oh yeah, now I am starting to see a little bit of motion in the photograph, just barely a little bit in her hands and her feet in some of these. So now we are going to drop down to 1/60th of a second. We are really going to start to see the motion here. Okay. Using a 60th of a second with a runner who is so fast means that her body is a blur as it goes through the photograph, so think about what we've done today.

We started at 1/2000th of a second, where we showed that the action is completely stopped. At 1/250th of a second, the action is starting to be kind of blurry. The motion is starting to get into there, and then of course 1/60th of a second, there is no stop action there at all. So it's kind of subjective, when you start thinking about which one is better. For my taste, I like the one where all the action is stopped. I think that her gait is so lovely and her face is so great.

I like that one a lot. You know I could also go a little bit with 1/250th of a second too. It's got just a little bit of motion in it that I think indicates speed. What I do know is that I do not like the 60th of a second for what I'm trying to accomplish here, which is to create a sense of speed, and showing this young runner at her best. So with a little bit of experience, you'll start to figure out what shutter speed really works best for the topic that you're photographing and the subject's power as they move through the frame.

It takes a little bit of time, but with practice you'll get it.

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The Elements of Effective Photographs

29 video lessons · 25744 viewers

Natalie Fobes
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