Shutter Speed Tips for Event Photography

Posted on 7th April, by in Blog. No Comments

Shutter speed will determine not only how much light (ambient light), but the faster the shutter speed the more freeze frame. Longer shutter speeds will blur out and capture movement. Some where in between is best for shooting events such as weddings and awarding ceremonies. F stops are all about how much light . F22 lets is less light than say for instance F4. Aperture ( F settings) controls how much light as well as depth of field. If for instance you would shoot the wedding aisle in SHUTTER priority (mode), you would be able to set the SHUTTER speed, and the camera will automatically set the aperture (F), allowing you to lower or raise the shutter speeds & not to worry about your aperture (F) This is called bracketing. Some cameras have presets to do this for you.

You need to understand the difference between Aperture (F) & Shutter. A clear distinction of these two settings is apparent when using a Flash (strobe). The lesson to learn here is that the Aperture captures light on the subject, and the shutter captures the background (ambient level).

Shooting an outdoor event on a bright day, you will have to CLOSE down your aperture ( F number gets larger, like F22) letting in less light. Where your shutter will have to get faster (smaller fraction of a second). For example, if you were to shoot a baseball game on a bright day, you would do the same. (of course you would have to know how to Pan, but that’s for another day).

The shorter the shutter speed, the shallower the depth of field as well as less light. The small the F-stop number, the bigger the hole in the lens for light to come through. If you want pin point focus, use the quickest shutter speed you can. That will make it darker, so you need to open the f-stop as much as possible to compensate with more light. 

If you want more motion blur and/or a wider depth of field, then you need a longer shutter speed and larger f-stop number (smaller hole in lens for light) because the length of time the photo is taken for will increase the light that enters, so you squeeze the hole as closed as you can to compensate and not let your photo get washed out with too much light.

Just find the balance between these and you’ll get a good shot.

Try taking the same photo with the same shutter speed, but change the f-stop for each one and go from the smallest to the largest and watch how the photos change from one to the next.

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