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Slow Shutter Speed

How to do Slow Shutter Speed Photography (Complete Guide)

In Photography, Shutter speed is one of the important settings that the Photographer should handle carefully. It’s used to change the photos’ brightness and create dramatic effects like freezing, blurring, etc. 

Once you know how to do slow shutter speed photography, you can capture amazing photos with freezing moments & blurring effects. 

But taking slow shutter speed photos is not as easy as it seems, and it may require lots of expertise and techniques to use slow shutter speed.

That’s why, In this guide, we’ve covered everything about slow shutter speed, how to use slow shutter speed, and useful techniques to use in slow shutter speed photography.

What is a Slow Shutter Speed?

Shutter Speed is a camera setting used to determine how long the camera shutter keeps open to capture a photo. It’s also known as long exposure for slower speed. A camera requires only a fraction of seconds of light to capture the image, and for slow shutter speed photography, 1/10 of a second. You need to understand that when there’s low light, a camera requires more time to capture the image more accurately.

Shutter speed is used for two things, i.e., capture motion blur photos and freeze motion photos. The first big effect of shutter speed is the motion blur that captures a long moving subject in the photo with a blurred direction of motion, and it looks like a speed and motion together with blurring effects.

The second big effect of shutter speed is freeze motion, which captures moving subjects like water and captures each water droplet in the air sharply. It looks like that moment was stopped and captured in the photo.

How does a slow shutter speed impact an image?

Slow shutter speed photography is the most beautiful way to capture the motion in photos. Whenever you want to capture the subject’s motion, you need to go with a slow shutter speed that helps you capture a motion photo with more light and brightness and convert anything moving into a beautiful blur. Using a tripod can be more useful for slow shutter speed photography to capture the motion more beautifully with shutter speed at 1/8th or lower.

There are some ways that shutter speed affects your images like:

  • Increasing and decreasing shutter speed can affect exposure

  • Increasing and decreasing shutter speed can affect the brightness.

When you capture slow shutter speed, it comes with a beautiful blur motion effect in the photo. So you need to do the settings for shutter speed photography carefully.

How to set the Shutter Speed on your Camera?

The Shutter Speed settings vary from camera to camera, but the process of changing shutter speed is just rotating a dial. 

Note: The adjustments to the shutter speed depending on your camera model.

You can use the camera in Auto or Manual mode. 

If you select Auto, the camera will automatically select the shutter speed accordingly.

If you select Manual, you need to rotate the dial to change the shutter speed, including aperture and ISO.

Using a slow shutter speed, you need to set it to around 1/60 or 1/125 of a second. 

It’s a trick to balance the settings, but once you know the right way, you’re ready to capture amazing photos with crazy effects.

How to do Slow Shutter Speed Photography?

There are many ways to capture creative and unique photos by using Slow Shutter Speed. 

You can capture the motion in a beautiful blur effect with a slow shutter speed.

1. Motion Blur

Slow Shutter speed allows you to capture moving objects in the most beautiful blurring effects. You need to take advantage and start capturing some dynamic photos of the moving things.

For example:

A street with great lighting and cars are passing through it. You can capture this moment at the slow shutter speed and see the beauty of how it captures motion objects with a beautiful blur effect. 

The best slow shutter speed setting for motion blur photography is around 1/30, and you can slow down 1/15 or 1/10. You need to try different shutter speed settings and the most beautiful motion-captured photos.

2. Panning

With Panning, you can only focus on the subject and keep it sharp while the whole background is beautifully blurred. You need to capture photos horizontally to capture High-level Panning photos.

This is a nearby motion blur effect, but in Panning, you need to focus on the particular subject, and the beautifully blurred whole background enhances the attractiveness of the subject.

For example:

Try to Photograph Cyclist with a sharp focus and let the background be beautifully blurred. The shutter speed settings for Panning is around 1/30 of a second.

3. Light Painting

This is one of the most beautiful and popular slow shutter speed photography that many people love to capture.

In this type of Photography, you need to set up your camera on a tripod and dial your slow shutter speed for a longer period. 

For example:

You can go in front of the camera and move or take around with lighting objects, and the camera will capture a complete moment that looks like a beautiful light circle you’ve created. 

You can use different lighting objects like fire sticks, sparkles, lighting, etc., to do beautiful photography with lighting.

The slow shutter speed setting for lighting is 1/10 of a second. Make sure the shutter speed is slow to capture the complete action, around 5-10 seconds.

4. Long Exposure

If you want to capture a long exposure with complete details and good lighting, you need to do slow shutter speed photography. You can find a great exposure, where you can capture every detail carefully during daylight or Night. 

You need to apply a filter lens that reduces the amount of lighting carefully and then do settings for shutter speed photography. You need to set up your slow shutter speed settings at 1/15th of a second to capture the long exposure.

5. Portraits

If you want to capture the Portrait photos, it requires different settings. You need to avoid the motion blur effect for a sharp focus on the subject and beautifully blur the whole background, and set up your camera with shutter speed settings to 1/125th of a second. 

This setting helps you to capture amazing Portrait photos with the best lighting.

6. Intentional Camera Shake

Intentional camera shake is like capturing motion photos as blurred. In this type of Photography, we shake the camera instead of the subject. It’s also known as a kinetic movement. To capture an intentional camera shake, you need to set up your camera at around 1/15 of a second.

Best Recommended Gear for Long Exposure Photography

If you’re planning for Long Exposure Photography, then you require some essential gear like:

Image Stabilization

Nowadays, cameras and lenses come with image stabilization features that help to capture perfect shots.



Remote Shutter/Self Timer

Sometimes, the shutter sound shakes the camera while doing photography. You need to use a remote shutter or self-timer to capture photos with image stability.

ND Filters

ND (Neural Density) Filters are useful for handling lighting during the day.

Final Verdict

Slow shutter speed photography is one of the most popular photography where you can capture photos with sharp focus and add effects of motion blur, lighting painting, and freezing moments. We hope this article helps you know everything about slow shutter speed photography, its uses, and how you can do slow shutter speed photography. Drop your comment and let me know your opinion about slow shutter speed photography.

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Joepet Macariola is the visionary CEO of 'Photo Editing Company' at Cebu, bringing over 16 years of leadership and innovation to the photo editing industry. Under his guidance, 'Photo Editing Company' has grown from a small startup into a recognized company, known for its cutting-edge technology and exceptional customer service.

Joepet's career began in graphic design, where he quickly realized his passion for digital imagery and editing. He holds an Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science Major in Graphic Design from University of San Carlos. This has enabled him to drive 'Photo Editing Company' mission of providing top-tier photo editing solutions to clients ranging from individual photographers to large enterprises.

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