Category: Photography Tips and Tutorials

What Shutter Speed to Use

The Shutter speed you use can have a huge influence on your photographs.

If you use a too slow shutter speed your photographs will be blurred. Some novice photographers think that their photographs are out of focus but sometimes they just used a too slow shutter speed and their photographs are blurred.

If you use an automatic camera it will normally either pops up the flash automatically or have a flashing indicator which warns you when the light is too low to take a photograph. If there is not enough light the camera will use a longer shutter speed in order to have enough light to record. This long shutter speed is what cause the blur effect since you cannot hold the camera still enough in your hands.

If you use a shutter speed of anything less than 1/60 of a second you must use a tripod or any other object to support your camera. The minimum hand held shutter speed also depends on the length of your lens. For up to 80mm you will get away with 1/60th of a second but if you use a longer lens you will need an even faster minimum shutter speed. Like when you use a 200mm lens it would be best to put your camera on a tripod for anything slower than 1/150th of a second.

You can also use a slow shutter speed to your advantage.

If you put your camera on a tripod and use a slow shutter speed to picture a waterfall or stream, you can create a soft effect of the water.

Soft Waterfall

Soft Waterfall

With a fast shutter speed we can freeze the motion in a picture.

Freeze the motion

Freeze the motion

To freeze motion of a picture, the shutter speed must be fast enough. You will need a shutter speed of at least 1/250 to freeze the motion of a running person successfully.

Even if you are photographing flowers in the wind you need a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion and get a sharp picture.

We can also use  a slow shutter speed to enhance the feeling of motion in a picture. The picture on the left was taken at 1/60. The motion of the bike was followed as it moved pass. We call this “panning”. Read more »

Creating Photographs with Impact

By Carl Botha – Senior Lecturer at the College of Digital Photography

Tip 1: Simplify

One of the easiest and probably most effective ways of creating an eye-catching image is by ‘getting in closer’. By getting closer you eliminate a lot of unnecessary information making for a striking, simple yet powerful image.

Tip 2: See the light

Undoubtedly the most important ‘ingredient’ in any great photographic image is light and by better understanding and using light, you will find a marked improvement in your photography.

Consider that light has colour and start looking for it. Between about 10am and 3pm sunlight loses most of its colour becoming clean, white and boring. Natural light changes colour throughout the day, which is the reason why we prefer to make photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon, to capture the colour of the light. Early morning light has some wonderful pastels like peach, pink and sometimes a bit of magenta, whereas late afternoon light is rich in warm yellows and golden oranges. Often these colours can become the very reason for wanting to capture an image.

Tip 3: Make use of colour

We know that light has colour, but were also surrounded by colour. Think about how we use colour in our daily lives, how it is infused in our language to describe feelings. We have all heard about someone feeling blue or about seeing red when we get angry. Colours are very closely associated with moods and emotions. Try using colours that add emotion to your image. Some emotive colour associations :

Using colour and comisition to create Impact

Using colour and composition to create Impact

Blue – Feelings of melancholy, feeling blue, singing the blues and the ever popular ‘Blue Monday”

Red – Passion, stop signs and danger

Orange – The colour of fire and warmth

Green – Freshness, nature and fertility, often used in scenes with ‘zen like’ calmness

Yellow – The first colour we humans notice or see, very lively and almost grabs the eye

Brown – Earthy, nature and associated with wood and trees, very neutral

Grey – The most neutral colour, enhances colours used with it, feelings of dreariness or depression Read more »