Got That Shutter Speed Down?

To freeze the action of these zebras, I used a shutter speed of 250th of a second. Using manual, I metered off the grass, set my shutter speed to 250th of a second, and let the camera pick the aperture to balance the exposure.
To freeze the action of these zebras, I used a shutter speed of 250th of a second. Using manual, I metered off the grass, set my shutter speed to 250th of a second, and let the camera pick the aperture to balance the exposure.

So this past week you studied your manual and now you understand the difference between shutter speed and aperture and how these two variables work together to produce a correct exposure.

Right? Quick review. The shutter speed controls the amount of movement in your images. Slow shutter speeds blur the movement (lower numbers on your dial) and fast shutter speeds freeze the movement (bigger numbers on your dial).

If you are using a point and shoot, no worries. Just put the dial on the sports icon and you’re good to go.

Most point and shoots don't have a long lens. Set the dial on the sports icon, then move in as close to the action as you can.
Most point and shoots don’t have a long lens. Set the dial on the sports icon, then move in as close to the action as you can.

We’re animal photographers, so we want to stop the movement, which means we  need a fast enough shutter speed to do that. I recommend setting your shutter speed to at least 250th of a second, and see what that speed (or a higher one), will produce in your images.

Slight pan, shutter at 250th of a second, metered off the dog.
Slight pan, shutter at 250th of a second, metered off the dog.

So get out there and shoot! Your images will  serve as report cards so you can study what went right, what went wrong and figure out what to try next.

Remember that photography is a learned skill where we fail over and over again before we succeed.

Good shooting!

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