Photographing Movement: The Power Of A Shutter Speed
there are so many ways to tell a story with your photograph and the thoughtful use of a shutter speed should not be overlooked. your choice of shutter speeds places an important role as you are photographing movement and can set the tone for your photograph. if you choose to portray movement in your photograph or choose to stop movement, you are creating two entirely different images that will tell two completely stories. as you pick up your camera with the goal of photographing movement, first ask yourself if you would like to freeze/stop the movement or if you would like to embrace the movement in your image. think about the power behind the shutter speed to tell your story.
did you know there are 4 things i do each and every time i pick up my camera? be sure to read what 4 things to do before you take a photo.
this post contains affiliate links. thank you in advance for supporting bethadilly photography.
Photographing Movement : The Power Of A Shutter Speed
if you look to your surroundings, you will see movement almost everywhere. there is movement in trees on the windy day or movement on the legs of a little one as they pedal their bicycle quickly down the driveway. when you see movement, you are given the opportunity to choose what story to tell. you can either freeze the motion, by using a fast shutter speed like 1/125 or faster to completely stop the motion in your frame. or you can choose to portray more movement by using a slower shutter speed to create some moving blur within the frame. it will be up to you, as the storyteller, to choose which shutter speed tells your story the best.
Slow Shutter Speeds
sometimes we get nervous when we think about slow shutter speeds because we think of blurry photos. while you will want to be mindful of your shutter speed at all times, sometimes it’s okay to choose a slower one to tell your story. in the photo above and photo below, i chose to use a slower shutter speed to capture the motion of the moving liquid and the flipping book pages instead of freezing them in place. using a slower shutter speed to embrace movement can bring realism to your image and make your viewer feel like they are right there, waiting for you to hand them that refreshing glass of cider or make them feel like they can hear the pages flipping.
Fast Shutter Speeds
more commonly used is a faster shutter speed to completely freeze the motion and, at times, create some really interesting photos. for example, in the photo of the flower basket above, my shutter speed was so fast at 1/2000 that i was able to capture drops of water as they fell past the flowers. in the BBQ photo on the right, i also chose a faster shutter speed because my husband was moving within the frame and i didn’t want his arm to depict movement. if you are photographing a child it is recommended that you choose a shutter speed of at least 1/125 or faster, as children are so quick!
photographing movement can add so much interest to your photograph, as you decide to either portray movement with a slow shutter speed or freeze it completely with a fast shutter speed. have fun with both, as you are photographing a moving subject. try using a fast shutter speed first, than a slower shutter speed second to see the differences between the two photos. you will be amazed at how, by just changing your shutter speed, you create two entirely different images of the same subject.
need help taking more control of your camera so you can play around with shutter speeds? if you are like me, manual mode may have you going cross eyed. but i finally conquered manual mode and now shoot confidently in M! check out my how i finally began to understand manual mode.
be sure to join my exclusive email list to receive my latest photography tips and tutorials. it’s free!
need some photography tips + inspiration? check out what posts are trending below!