My Experience in Using the Shutter Speed


The three main areas that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. I’ve previously looked at making adjustments to ISO and now I want to turn my attention to shutter speed.


And the most basic definition I have, SHUTTER SPEED is the amount of time that the shutter is open.


In film photography it was the length of time that the film was exposed to the scene you’re photographing and similarly in digital photography shutter speed is the length of time that your image sensor “sees” the scene you’re attempting to capture.


When considering what shutter speed to use in an image you should always ask yourself whether anything in your scene is moving and how you’d like to capture that movement. If there is movement in your scene you have the choice of either freezing the movement, so it looks still, or letting the moving object intentionally blur, giving it a sense of movement.


To freeze movement in an image, you’ll want to choose a faster shutter speed and to let the movement blur you’ll want to choose a slower shutter speed. The actual speeds you should choose will vary depending upon the speed of the subject in your shot and how much you want it to be blurred.


Motion is not always bad – I spoke to dada last night and he told me that he always used fast shutter speeds and couldn’t understand why anyone would want motion in their images. And he always does this everytime we watch PBA in Araneta as he captures each and every player’s moment to fly towards the basket. There are times when motion is good. For example when you’re taking a photo of a waterfall and want to show how fast the water is flowing, or when you’re taking a shot of a racing car and want to give it a feeling of speed, or when you’re taking a shot of a star scape and want to show how the stars move over a longer period of time etc. In all of these instances choosing a longer shutter speed will be the way to go. However in all of these cases you need to use a tripod or you’ll run the risk of ruining the shots by adding camera movement (a different type of blur than motion blur).


Focal Length and Shutter Speed – another thing to consider when choosing shutter speed is the focal length of the lens you’re using. Longer focal lengths will accentuate the amount of camera shake you have and so you’ll need to choose a faster shutter speed (unless you have image stabilization in your lens or camera).


I tried once using my own digital camera, non SLR on that matter, my famous Canon IXUS, and this is how I fared. It was really hard to control the shake and adjusting the shutter speed is sometimes confusing, I am telling you.

Gian while on air

Gian while on air


I may have used a slow shutter speed because I captured the image when Gian is about to go down. My target was to take his photo when he is still up there.






Another try

Another try



I adjusted the shutter and I still get this, minus the head this time. Whew, I still have a lot to learn using the shutter speed.






Moment on landing

Moment on landing



I like the hair movement that I was able to capture though. To say the least.


My Understanding On How and When To Use The ISO Setting Of My Digital Camera

What ISO denotes is how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor and therefore the possibility to take pictures in low-light situations.

In digital photography, you increase the ISO level of your digital cameras when you need to take pictures where there is minimal light available especially when the use of flash is prohited like concerts, recitals, etc.

However when you boost the sensitivity of the image sensor of your camera by selecting a higher ISO, the image sensor is now able to record a fainter light signal. But it is also true that the increased sensitivity allows the image sensor to record more light signal and more noise.

What is noise then? Noise is apparent by the presence of color speckles where there should be none. For example, instead of a blue sky, you notice faint pink, purple and other color speckles amongst the otherwise blue sky.

So this means a higher ISO introduces noise. However, Noise Reduction Software will clean up the noise in some images, and sometimes it’s done well enough that you can’t really tell the original image had unacceptable noise level in it. A software can be easily downloaded from the internet. And I can say, it is so easy to use. The moment I learned how to use the software, it has become a must have in my software gallery.

Use a high ISO if it is a choice between missing a picture and being able to capture an image — even if it means you need to spend time cleaning out the noise in post-processing using a noise reduction software.

The best image quality is usually obtained at the lowest ISO setting on your digital camera. If by adjusting the shutter speed / aperture combinations, you still cannot obtain a correctly exposed picture (usually in low-light situations), then you may have to select the next higher ISO. However, remember that using a higher ISO usually results in noisy images on your digital camera.

Detail Showing Digital Noise of High ISO

The example photograph was shot at 800 ISO using my Canon IXUS 800 digital camera. A cropped portion of the photo is provided to show the noise inherent in the photo at this high ISO level. Sometimes this noise (but more often with film grain) is used for special creative effects. This photo could not have been taken at a lower ISO rating, but there was certainly a trade off in detail and in noise.

Effect after using the Noise Reduction Software

And this is how the photo turned out after cleaning out the noise in post-processing using a noise reduction software.