Although this image is in jest, proper stability and limited movement is key when shooting at low shutter speeds. (
If you are a photographer, you’ll probably hear this …a lot. “Can you recommend a good camera? My pics always come out blurry” . Well, chances are it’s more to do with camera settings and low light situations than the actual camera being the culprit of poor photos. When I ask what are they shooting when they produce such poor results, it’s almost always something in a situation that has limited light and/or fast moving subjects. Another factor is they are always shooting in their camera’s version of full auto-mode. Which isn’t horrible in some situations, but usually…you want more control of how your camera performs. That in itself will be a whole topic to discuss in detail. When in one of the automatic modes, the camera’s computer will automatically adjust the shutter speed, iso & aperture. Possibly a few other things, but those first 3 are the main culprits to producing blurred or clear images when not properly balanced. When your shutter speed is around 100 or lower, any slight movements can become motion blur in the picture. Sometimes you want this! It gives the photo movement and action. But to eliminate that, you’ll want to bring your shutter speed to 100 or faster depending on the subjects movement and/or light availability.
Now…setting your shutter speed to 125 alone won’t fix your problems. Once you do, you’ll probably produce an image that is extremely dark or black…but at least you won’t have movement!What you need to do now is adjust your iso and/or aperture to allow more light to expose the shot. ISO is the setting in which measures how sensitive your camera’s sensor (digital) or film (oldschool) is to light. Generally, if you can shoot a perfectly exposed image with 100 iso, you’ll have a nice clear and crisp image with limited to no noise/grain. But if you are shooting with your shutter speed at 100 as well, then you’ll more than likely need to bump the iso upwards to 400 or more. Now depending on the quality of your camera, this may or may not begin to produce a “noisy” image. With today’s technology, most camera’s can get a way with 400+ or even 1600+ for the pro-sumer dslr’s.
We’ll get to aperture in a second. I want to quickly mention the importance of light on your subject. Whether it be the sun (natural light) or something artificial such as the camera’s onboard flash or hotshoe mounted flash to an off camera strobe. If you MASTER the ability to manipulate and control how that light source affects your subject, you’ll be 3 steps ahead of the rest of the class. I’ve found many people, including professional photographers, simply don’t take the time to fully understand and learn what and how light can be controlled in order to create a much better photograph. You really don’t need fancy equipment, just the proper placement of your subject in relation to the sun or light source in the room can make all the difference. I was taught very early on in my adventures into photography, the order of importance to creating a stunning photograph – Light, Lens, body. Learn to control your light, use the best glass you can afford and get in the best shape you can! No, just kidding…your camera body is of least importance. Although it’s nice to have the newest and best images, properly using your light and upgrading your lens will be more immediately beneficial.
Now back to aperture! Aperture will often be referred to the len’s “f-stop”. The aperture controls how much light is exposed to the sensor or film or sensor. So let’s say from above, your shutter speed is at 125, your iso is at 400 and your images are still coming out too dark. You can either decrease your shutter and risk motion blur, increase your iso and risk noise or you can check the aperture and raise it to allow more light in. Generally, the lower the number f-stop the more light is allowed in. Decreasing the aperture means closing it which ironically is increasing your f-stop. So in other words, if your shutter speed is 125, iso 400 and you are still getting dark images, opening up (decrease the numerical value in camera) aperture from 5.0 to 2.8 will allow more light in and properly expose your image. Makes sense? What I am failing to mention is how the aperture will affect the “bokeh” or Field of Depth of an image. That’s something I’ll wait to confuse you with later!
With all that being said, I’ll usually recommend one of the consumer or pr0-sumer digital slr cameras. Those are almost always better than a point and shoot for what these people are shooting for. I like point and shoot cameras…but mainly for snapshots. Having fun at a party, dinner etc… If you are shooting your child’s sports event or performance on stage at a regular basis, and want to capture those moments, I’d highly recommend investing in something a little more advanced such as 1 of the many digital slr’s out on the market today. My preference is with Canon equipment, but Nikon makes a great product as well. Despite Ashton Kutcher as it’s poster boy. Those two brands will have the most variety of lens to waste your money on later down the line! And once you start, it’s hard to stop!
Where to buy? B & H as the best prices and is the #1 trusted professional’s source.
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Renato Ramos Jr – Flipstyle Photography