Everything you ever needed to know about shutter speed

Jun 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Everything you ever needed to know about shutter speed

Jun 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There’s a lot more to shutter speed than simply filling in a part of the exposure triangle.  The creative choices when it comes to shutter speed are just as important as the technical.

In this video from PhotoRec TV, Toby Gelston tells us all about shutter speed, the issues that can arise from having one that’s too fast or too slow, how to fix them.  He also talks about how we can use shutter speed creatively to give you the images you really want.

YouTube video

One thing stated in the video is that when you’re shooting long exposures from a tripod is the suggestion of using mirror lock-up or liveview mode, as they’re “basically the same”.

Do note, though, that not all cameras treat mirror lockup the same as they do when shooting stills with liveview.  With some cameras, when you hit the shutter, it turns off liveview, drops the mirror and then flips it back up again to take a still photograph in the normal way.

This method is becoming less common, and more cameras now will keep the mirror locked up when taking a photograph with liveview.  Be sure to check how your camera shoots stills during liveview before you try this for real, so that you don’t get unexpected or undesirable results.

One thing not mentioned in the video, because it doesn’t really apply to digital, is reciprocity failure.  I’m not going to get into technical details here, but if you’re planning to use a very slow shutter speed to get long exposures on film, it’s something you’ll definitely want to research.

As for remote triggers, my personal favourites are the Nikon MC-20 and the Yongnuo MC-36R.  The MC-20’s great, it doesn’t require any batteries, it’s powered straight from a Nikon DSLR’s 10 pin port, and mine’s been going strong for about 15 years now.  When I started to look more into shooting timelapse, I needed something better with a built in intervalometer.

The Nikon MC-36 looked great, but a tad out of budget at the time.  The Yongnuo MC-36R also had the advantage of working wired or wireless, so I could stick it in my pocket and keep my hands warm, or shoot from the relative comfort of the inside of a car parked a few yards away.  The MC-36R also has connectors available for all 6 Nikon and Canon remote sockets.

What other shutter speed tips and tricks can you offer?  Let us know in the comments.

[via YouTube]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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