As a portrait photographer, you likely find yourself in outdoor settings more often than not. To capture the best images outdoors, understanding the proper shutter speed is key. Here, we’ll explore what shutter speed is and how to adjust it for outdoor portrait photography.
What is Shutter Speed?
In photography, shutter speed is the amount of time that your camera’s shutter is open when capturing an image. This is measured in fractions of a second, and the longer the shutter is open, the more light is let in. For example, if you use a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, your shutter will be open for a very short amount of time, while a shutter speed of 1 second will leave your shutter open for a much longer amount of time.
How Does Shutter Speed Affect Outdoor Portraits?
When shooting outdoors, shutter speed can have a major impact on the overall quality of your images. For starters, a faster shutter speed will freeze any movement, which can be great for capturing people in mid-action or for preventing blurring from camera shake. On the other hand, a slower shutter speed will allow for more ambient light to enter the camera, which can be great for capturing more even lighting in a portrait.
What Shutter Speed Should I Use for Outdoor Portraits?
The shutter speed you choose will depend on the look you’re going for and the lighting conditions that you’re working with. In general, a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second or faster is ideal for capturing portrait subjects in motion, while a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second or slower is best for creating even lighting in a portrait. If you’re shooting in low light, you may need to use a slower shutter speed in order to let in enough light for a proper exposure.
Freezing Movement with Shutter Speed
If you’re shooting in a situation where the person you’re photographing is in motion, you’ll want to use a faster shutter speed. This will help to freeze the motion, preventing any blurring or streaking in the image. You’ll want to use a shutter speed that’s fast enough to freeze the motion, but not so fast that it creates an overly sharp image. As a general rule of thumb, a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second or faster should be sufficient for most outdoor portrait photography.
Creating Even Lighting with Shutter Speed
If you’re shooting in a situation with even lighting, you’ll want to use a slower shutter speed. This will allow more ambient light to enter the camera, creating a more even lighting in the final image. You’ll want to use a shutter speed that’s slow enough to let in enough light, but not so slow that it creates a blurry image. As a general rule of thumb, a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second or slower should be sufficient for most outdoor portrait photography.
Using a Tripod for Slower Shutter Speeds
When shooting with a slower shutter speed, it’s important to use a tripod to keep your camera steady. This will help to ensure that the image isn’t blurred or streaked by any unintentional camera shake. If you don’t have a tripod, you can try to hold your camera as still as possible, but it’s best to invest in a tripod if you plan to do any low light photography.
Understanding shutter speed and how to adjust it for outdoor portrait photography is essential for capturing the best images. By using a faster shutter speed, you can freeze any movement, while a slower shutter speed can help to create even lighting in a portrait. With the right shutter speed, you’ll be able to capture stunning outdoor portraits that you’ll be proud to share.