How To - Create Dynamic Photos Using Shutter Speed

by Harrison Candlin - Adventure Ambassador

How To - Create Dynamic Photos Using Shutter Speed

Knowing how and when to use a different shutter speed in certain situations can help you create dynamic photos that can either speed up or slow down movement in an image. For example, running water from a waterfall can be slowed down to give it a dreamy look versus frozen falling snow with a fast shutter speed (1/500 - 1/1000). Here are my tips for creating more dynamic images with shutter speeds:


Shutter Speed Tips

Using motion techniques can help to express a sense of speed, activity or calmness otherwise not achieved by using a different shutter speed. Some shutter speeds tips for creating dynamic photos include:

  1. Slow shutter speed. Use a slow shutter speed on something like a waterfall, around 1/20 to 1/2.
  2. Fast shutter speed. Use a fast shutter speed to capture and freeze water splashing, snow falling or someone jumping.
  3. Be aware of the light. The longer the shutter is open, the more light is let into the sensor, so ideally shoot slow shutter speed images in darker situations or by stopping down your aperture (from f2.8 to f8).
  4. Stay still. Have a steady hand or use a tripod. Use your built in IBIS so the image is still sharp and has no blur in the parts you don't want it to.

Example 1 - Location: Oregon, USA

In this example, you can see the difference in shutter speed between the two - 1/320 and 1/20, which is a considerable difference. Notice the effect both photos have, with the one on the left having the water 'frozen' in action and the image on the right has the water displaying a more smooth and dreamy effect.

Different Shutter Speeds Create Different Motion Effects
Create A 'Freezing' Effect With Different Shutter Speeds

Different shutter speeds create different motion effects, such as 'freezing' (left). (Images courtesy of Harrison Candlin)

Photo Credits

All images supplied by Harrison Candlin

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