DSLR Basics: Shutter Speed

The 3rd and final piece of shooting in manual is here!! Today we are talking about shutter speed and how to make it, f-stop, and ISO work together to nail an exposure every time. Let’s dive right in! 

Your shutter speed controls how fast your camera’s shutter is opening and closing, pretty self explanatory right? When you choose your shutter speed, you are choosing 1) how much light will be able to come into the camera and 2) how fast the camera will snap an image. 

Just like with f-stop, with shutter speed you have to consider what you are shooting to determine the appropriate speed. If you are photographing kids you might want to bump that shutter speed up, because they move pretty quick. If you are photographing the ocean, you can go lower because it’s not going to get up and move during your shot. One thing to consider, no matter what you are shooting, is your hand motion. While you are shooting you will be moving ever so slightly, which is totally fine, as long as your shutter speed is compensating for the movement. A good rule of thumb is to never go below 1/125 of a second. 

So with shutter speed: the lower the number, the brighter the image, and the slower the shutter speed. The higher the number, the darker the image, and the faster the shutter speed.

YAY! You now have all 3 puzzle pieces of shooting in manual, so how do you make them work together? 

When shooting, I always set my ISO first based on the lighting conditions at the time. Step 1/3 done. Next, I set my f-stop based on what I am shooting. Typically for me it is around 2.0. Step 2/3 done. Finally, I compensate for the light with the shutter speed, while also considering what I am shooting. Step 3/3 done. 

On a sunny day my images might have settings something like these: ISO 100. f2.0. 1/2,000 shutter speed. 
Inside a house my settings might look more like this: ISO 800. f2.0. 1/125 shutter speed. 

When I first learned manual I thought to myself, “You mean I have to do this for every. single. shot?!” But in a matter of days it all made a lot more sense, and now shooting in manual is second nature to me (and much less frustrating than shooting in auto). 

The best thing you can do to get shooting in manual all the time, is to start shooting now as much as you can. Familiarize yourself with the toggles on your camera and what each setting does. Even when you don’t have a camera in your hands, look around and ask yourself what your ISO would be if you did. Photograph landscapes, children, flowers, the swing set, heck a rock for all I care. And if you get the chance send me or tag me in some images, I would love to see what y’all are creating! :)