For the purposes of this tutorial, I will assume you to be shooting in shutter-priority mode. All newer SLRs have shutter priority, along with many better-quality digital cameras. In this mode, you can manually set the time your shutter will stay open, and the camera will adjust the aperature automatically to achieve proper exposure.

You need a slow shutter to capture low light.

This first picture represents one end of the spectrum: the slow shutter. If you're trying to capture a low-light scene, maybe a sunset, you'll have to have a very slow shutter.

Depending on the light, this may even be seconds. If that's the case, you must steady the camera to minimize blur. A tripod is the best way, but setting the camera on a table, the ground or anything stable can work.

Next is an example of a fast shutter. To freeze action, you must use a fast shutter to prevent motion blur. For fast action, try to shoot at least at 1/500 second, but 1/250 is often adequate. Another factor you must consider is how shaking hands can cause blur.

Make sure your shutter is fast enough to prevent blur.

As a general rule, a shutter speed of the inverse of focal length will prevent shake. For example, shooting with a telephoto lens of 200mm calls for a shutter speed equal or faster than 1/200 second. So, for this example, setting for 1/250 sec. at 200mm will prevent blur.

This is a general rule. If you have a surgeon's hand, you can get away with a slower shutter. Know your limitations. You can also use a tripod or monopod to aid you.

Home - Equipment - Composition - Light - Shutter - Aperture - Examples - Questions