Freezing Action and Shutter Speeds – Chapter 4
It’s been wedding season in India and I am real busy with assignments and sleepless nights. That was the reason for the delay in updating my Free Basics of Photography Course. Anyways, today I found some time to update the next chapter on the shutter priority. If you wish here is the link to my wedding photography website.
In this chapter you’ll learn about how to freeze various subjects in action at different shutter speeds.
From the previous chapter you learned that fast shutter speeds freeze action and slow shutter speeds records the action as a blur. Now the question is how fast is a fast shutter speed and similarly how slow should be a slow shutter speed.
Apparently you’ll have to try out different shutter speeds to experience their effects on action. In this chapter I’ll provide you with a reference with which you can begin your experiments.
The Fastest shutter speed. My camera supports a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second and this is the speed which can stop almost any action. This does not mean you should always use it to stop action.
Assuming you are having a 200 mm lens with one third of your viewfinder (viewfinder = the place where you keep your eye to compose images in the camera) filling the frame then the following shutter speeds are reference shutter speeds to freeze action
|Speed of the Subject||Recommended Shutter Speed (as per direction)|
|(in Kilometers per Hour)||Across the Frame||Towards the Camera|
|Less than 15||1/250||1/90*|
|Between 80- 120||1/4000||1/1000|
|Greater than 120||1/8000||1/2000|
*Please note that at a shutter speed of less than 1/200 (on a 200mm lens) you are bound to get a blur because of the camera shake. Instead use a tripod or image stabilization.
I know that the above table is a little confusing and difficult to remember. So to simplify things just use the following.
For people in parties where people are moving use 1/250th of a second. And for animals use 1/500th of a second (strictly depends on the animal though)
If it’s a car or a motorbike on a race track use 1/8000 of a second with panning your camera in the direction of the movement of a car.
If it’s a general sports event like athletes running or cricket/football match use 1/500th of a second to stop the action.
For relatively still subject like portraits etc. you can use 1/60 (with a tripod/ Image stabilization).
These are just general thumb rules and you’ll have to experiment with your shutter speeds to get the image of your liking. As I said earlier it gives you a starting point to experiment.
In the next chapter I’ll cover the motion blur i.e. slower shutter speeds.