There are two “major fundas” of photography. They are:
When you know what kind of “shutter speed” and
“aperture size” will be best for a particular image, you
have understood a major part of photography! So let us begin and
try to understand these two factors and see how they affect the photos
To understand what shutter speed means, you need to understand how a
camera works. A camera, whether digital or non-digital, works on the
same principle! It’s pretty simple, there is a “image
sensor” in all cameras.
Basically an “image sensor” records whatever image falls on it. So if you want to take a photo, you simply have to let the image that you want to take, fall on the image sensor! In simple (non-digital) cameras, the “image sensor” is in the form of a film! (You know that black film you have to put into a the camera from behind…) In digital cameras, the “image sensor” is in the form of a “light sensitive plate”.
But all that is not important! What is important is that the image sensor will record any image that falls on it. So if you keep the image sensor open for too long, it will keep on recording the images that fall on it. If this happens, you will get a blurred image. Like this:
Obviously, you will get an image like the
one above, if the person whose photo you are trying to take, is
moving while the image sensor is open. If the person remains
“perfectly” still, there will be no blurring. But the
problem is, you cannot expect people, to remain perfectly still for 3-4
seconds, while you take their picture. Especially babies!
Even if the person remains perfectly still, you might just move your hand and the camera within those 3-4 seconds and cause a blur. (3-4 seconds is a lot of time!) So, having the image sensor open for even 3-4 seconds is a problem. You need to have the image sensor open for just a fraction of a second so that neither you nor the person you are taking a picture of, moves in that fraction of a second.
You can control the amount of time, the image sensor is exposed, by controlling the “stutter speed”! It you have a high shutter speed, that means that the “shutter” in front of the image sensor moves really fast. So, the image sensor will be exposed for only a fraction of a second. If you have a slow shutter speed, that means that the shutter moves really slow and so the image sensor will be exposed for a longer time.
Now, depending on the kind of effect you want, you can control the shutter speed. Sometimes, you might want to intentionally blur an image, so you will have a slow shutter speed. Sometimes, you might want to capture exactly what is happening in a specific moment of time, so you will go for a fast shutter speed and you will get a “sharp” image.
For example: Assume you want to take a picture of an airplane that is flying by. What do you think, you would want to use, fast or slow shutter speed? Fast-shutter speed! So that the image sensor is exposed for only a fraction of a second and you can capture THAT fraction of a second.
What will happen if you use a slow shutter speed? The airplane will be a huge “blur” in your photo, because you have exposed the image sensor for too long! While the image sensor was exposed the airplane will have moved a lot, and the whole thing will be recorded. So the final image of the airplane is blurred.
But, this might also be a desired effect. If you want to show, though your image, that the airplane was moving really fast, then the blurred airplane might have a good effect!
This brings us to a more basic question: What do you want to show though your photo? Let us discuss this first, in the next section...
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