I don’t really have much to blog about nowadays and since the previous blog post on Macro Photography seemed to be informative, I thought I should follow up with another mini ‘tutorial’.

Shutter priority mode is the mode which is denoted by a ‘Tv’ icon in most camera dials. It allows the user to control the length of time by which the camera shutter is opened. Its when the shutter is open that the camera ‘takes’ the photo. Any movements done when the shutter is open will cause the blurred movement effects you might see in night shots. With some thinking, you will most probably figure out that to get a non-blurred photo, you will need a fast shutter speed so as to freeze the movements while to include movements into a photo, a slow shutter speed will be used.

Certain more advanced point and shoot cameras have to option for the shutter priority mode but most (if-not-all) DSLR will certainly have the mode. The shutter speed ranges from a slow shutter speed (by which the shutter opens for a longer period of time… eg: 1 second or 2 seconds) to fast shutter speed (it closes off faster… eg: 1/60… which basically means its shut off in 1/60 of a second)

Another important thing to note is that when the shutter is opened for a longer period of time, more light enters the camera and hence your photo will be more exposed than usual. And the same applies for a fast shutter speed time. This is basically why night modes have longer shutter speed compared to action/sports/kids mode… Because we need more light to enter the camera at night to make the photo better exposed. In the latter mode, we need a fast shutter speed to freeze the movements of the action/sports/kids.

I sometimes find people asking me, what shutter speed should I use? Generally whichever you are comfortable with. Of course, I would start with a fast shutter speed and slowly make my way down to a slower shutter speed to compensate for the change in aperture or ISO etc. But a rule of thumb will be to ‘Not use a shutter speed which is less than the zoom range of your lens’ (or something like that). Eg: If you are zooming at 55mm (for a standard 18-55mm kit lens), make sure your shutter speed is not less than 1/55 (or rather 1/60 because 1/55 don’t really exist) and most of the time, it should be good enough. You can always try to use less than the zoom range, but it will be entirely up to your skills in handling a camera, the VR (Vibration Reduction) or IS (Image Stabilization) ability of your camera and so on. Still… The safest way of using a slow shutter speed is putting it on a tripod or some flat surface.

I would always recommend you to take out your camera right now and play around with the Tv mode settings. Eventually when you’re used to it, you can go into taking panning shots, light painting and also some creative usage of shutter speed shots.

~Panning shots like the roller coaster ride above allows you to implicate movements in the shots~

And eventually, you will be able to do something like this:
















~This was taken during my trip to Pangkor last year. The smooth water and sky are due to slow shutter speeds. I will make a post on how this photo was taken soon~

Till the next update, remember that the best way to learn is via hands on experience. Keep shooting.