Shutter priority is used when you need the extremes of the shutter speed range. Situations such as freeze action, to stop an object’s motion, or when you need to use a slow shutter speed for longer exposures such as night shots. Shutter speed is also crucial to techniques such as panning when the camera is moved to create a motion effect.
Understanding The Basics of Shutter Priority
The shutter priority setting is symbolized one of two ways on your camera, either with the letter S or TV. While it lets you set the shutter speed and ISO, it decides that best aperture for those settings. Even though it takes some of the guess work out of it for you, you really should pay attention to not only the speeds you pick but as well as the one it sets for you.
Another thing to consider is that typically when you use a speed under 1/60th of a second you will get some blurriness in the image. This is due to the fact that the human body isn’t as stable as you might think it is and the camera will pick up the unsteadiness of your hands. To avoid camera shake use a tripod or at very least a wall to brace the camera up against.
Freeze Action Photography
Freeze action photography is used for shooting sporting events, cars, animals, children playing, pour shots and anything else that is in motion. There are a couple of ways to take fast action shots. You can either use the blurriness of the image to show the movement or you can use a faster speed to show the subject frozen in time. A fast shutter speed is usually considered to be 1/500th of a second or faster and the newer DSLRs are capable at shooting at 1/8000th of a second. Keep in mind that the amount of available light as well as how fast the movement is you are trying to shoot will affect how much the movement can be captured.
Long exposure photography is used for night scenes or when you want to show slow motion such as a waterfall. It’s used in low light conditions combined with a low ISO. A long exposure is anything less then 1/500th of a second and most cameras are able to shoot as high as 30 seconds. And just like freeze action photography, you need to use a tripod to avoid camera shake.
This technique should be done in low light situations to avoid washed out images caused by too much light. The ISO and shutter speeds should be set to as slow as they will go on your camera. Once you press the shutter release, move the camera from one side to the other to exaggerate the effect of movement.
What Direction is the Movement In?
If you think that the direction that the movement is coming from doesn’t matter and won’t affect the shot you are trying to take, think again. If you are trying to shoot something that is parallel in relation to the camera, you are going to need a much faster shutter speed then if you were trying to shoot something that was coming straight at the camera. The distance between the camera and the moving subject also plays a role in how fast of a shutter speed you will need. This is all due to the tricks that are played on the eye from different angles. Basically it means you need to pay attention to the relative speed of the subject oppose to the actual speed of it.
Using shutter priority mode has many benefits when trying to shoot different types of photography. It is good practice to see how the relationship between the shutter and aperture work. The best way to get comfortable with using this mode is to experiment with each type of photography technique and see what combination you like best.