photography and photographs understood

Turning on the Tv

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: Jul 2009; revised: Oct 2017; readers past month: 515

In this photograph I set the shutter speed to 1/125 of a second. It was bright outside, so that’s plenty of time for the shutter to be open. More importantly, one of my subjects, the woman walking by was moving too quickly—she didn’t want to obstruct my photo or didn’t want to be photographed. A fast shutter speed kept her image from being blurred.

In this photograph I set the shutter speed to 1/800 of a second. The girl and boy were swinging fairly fast, but because it was shot with them primarily moving towards me and away from me, this was fast enough to catch the action. Had I shot it from their sides, it would have required a shorter duration and maybe for me to pan the camera to freeze the shot.

Shutter Speed Priority is basically the same as manual mode, except that when you adjust the shutter duration, the aperture is automatically adjusted in response, based on the inter light meter reading for proper light exposure. It’s usually abbreviated as S on Nikon cameras and Tv (i.e., Time Value) on Canon cameras. Check your camera’s manual to be sure.

Useful Situations

This camera exposure mode is useful when you’re photographing a moving subject. For instance, if you’re photographing a child or an animal. They don’t always sit still enough. It’s not just a matter of them fidgetting, but relocating themselves, moving further away or into different lighting. Depending on how active your subject, will depend on how short of time you’ll want your camera’s shutter to be open. When shutter duration is your priority, you may not have time to conversely adjust the camera’s aperture to accommodate your shutter duration setting. In such a situation, Shutter Priority is probably best.

Other Considerations

In Shutter Speed Priority mode, you will probably need to set your metering method to evaluative or average mode, as opposed to center weighted or spot metering mode. With more precise metering, you run the risk that the camera will lock in on a small part of your subject (e.g., a dark patch on a Dalmatian dog) and throw off the camera’s light meter reading. So using the evaluative or averaging method is probably best in most situations.