Last week I talked about aperture: the size of the opening in your lens that light can come through. This week is all about the amount of time that light comes through the aperture. If you’ve got lots of light, then you can have a very short shutter speed. A short shutter speed “freezes” the action. A long shutter speed blurs the action.
Used creatively, shutter speed is a very powerful tool. Here are three images of the same waterfall. You can see the different shutter speeds and how the amount of time that light is entering the camera changes the feel of your images.
The one the left was taken at 1/100th of a second, the middle at 1/30th of a second and the one of the right at 1/10th of a second.
Unfortunately, when photographing kids, you need a short shutter speed, preferably over 1/60th of a second. They move too quickly for long shutter speeds and the result is a blurred image. Katrina usually aims to have her shutter speed at 1/125th of a second when photographing kids, if not higher to ensure the image is really crisp.
When you are trying for an image that “shows” movement and want the longer shutter speeds, make sure to use a tripod. This just ensures that the movement is only in the part of the image that are actually moving and not caused by camera movement!