The TV or S mode on your camera is for Shutter Speed Priority. This allows you to set what you would like your shutter speed to be while the camera adjusts aperture setting. You can have this mode also adjust your ISO for you if you would like by placing it in Auto. All the other settings you can set manually such as flash white balance, flash, format and so on. All you need to know is what shutter speed you would like to use, but how do you decide that. In order to make this decision you need to understand what shutter speed is!
Just to review… I explained in my blog Understanding Your Camera: Shutter Speed, ISO, Depth of Field and Aperture ( Which you can find HERE. ) How there is a shutter on the inside of your DLSR camera that opens and closes to let light shine onto the sensor and capture the photo. I also explained how this affects exposure of your final image. The faster it closes, the less light is let in. When using a fast shutter speed you are not only thinking about light, but you are also thinking about how fast is the subject moving. Shutter speed is very important in capturing fast movements sharply. While you might like some motion blur to tell the story of movement you also don’t want there to be so much movement that everything is blurry. It is imperative that you learn what ranges of shutter speed you need for different moving subjects.
Shutter speeds range from in my TV mode on my canon rebel from 30″ on the slower end to 1/4000 on the fast end. These are measurements in seconds to fractions of a second. If you think of the ” marks as seconds on the slower end and the fractions as fractions of a second on the fast end of your shutter speed settings. So for example if I set the camera to 8″ the shutter would remain open for approximately 8 seconds. Now if I set it to 0″ 5 that would be a half of a second. Then, if I set to 1/250 the shutter would stay open for 250th of a second. While some cameras can go slower or faster than mine, I have not found a use for that just yet.
One thing you will want to keep in mind is the limits of your lens and when you need to use a tripod to prevent blur occurring from wind or your movements. When your shutter speed drops outside the range of your lens hand holding threshold you will want to use a tripod. The general rule is use a tripod if the shutter speed you are using is under the mm on your lens. So for example, if you are using a 50mm prime lens then you would use a tripod if you set your shutter speed under 1/50.
So with that said, how do you decide what shutter speed you need to use for which subjects? There is some general rules of thumb when it comes to using shutter speed and there are some people that like to discuss back and fourth which shutter speed you need. I find it best to know the general rule of thumb and take test pictures and adjust from there. This trains my eye to look at each situation and before long. I hope to be able to just know by instinct what I need without too much contemplation.
So here is some general rules of thumb:
Slow Shutter Speeds
Fast Shutter Speeds
This will give you a general idea of what shutter speeds to use. But like a lot of things in photography depending on the look that you are wanting the amount of motion blur you like and your artistic preferences these numbers will change. You will over time develop a setting that is your sweet spot the place that you live, because it gives you the results you want.
As always I love to hear from you! Tell me, what is your favorite shutter speed? If you found this irresistible burst to be helpful as you are learning. Share your work with me! Go to Instagram or Facebook and tag me in your posts! I want to see your creations! Get out there and be creative! You got this!