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#3 - Shutter Speed

The #1 complaint of most photographers is:

My photographs aren't sharp!

So, cameras are designed to use fast shutter speeds to make sure every photograph is sharp.

But, you're not every photographer.

You can make some photographs great by using a slow shutter speed to create motion blur.

Read your instruction manual to find out how to change the shutter speed.

Look for the three methods below.

Three Methods

1 - Jogger & Blur Icons


The easiest way to use shutter speed more creatively is to employ the jogger icon (on many cameras), and the blur icon (on some Canon cameras).

Jogger Icon

If you set the exposure mode dial to the jogger icon, motion will be frozen.

That's because the camera will select a fast shutter speed, such as 1/1000th of a second.

Blur Icon

Some Canon cameras have a blur icon.

The icon is a circle with trailing speed lines (like in a cartoon).

If you set the exposure mode dial to this icon, motion will be blurred.

That's because the camera will choose a slow shutter speed, such as 1/8th of a second.

2 - S or Tv


Many cameras have a shutter-priority mode setting, which is S (Nikon and other cameras) or Tv (Canon).

With the shutter-priority exposure mode, you select the shutter speed, and the camera selects the aperture.

By choosing the shutter speed, you can determine the optimum setting.

Start with 1/8th of a second to blur motion, and shutter speeds higher than 1/100th of a second to freeze motion.

3 - Scene Modes

Many point-and-shoot cameras have scene modes.

These modes are used in special situations.

Look in your instruction manual, and read the descriptions of the scene modes.

You may want to photocopy the descriptions and carry them with your camera.

Look for a scene mode that will freeze motion.

For example, many cameras have a scene mode called Pets & Kids.

This mode will probably freeze motion.

Scene modes that will blur motion may be less common.

If the scene is dark, try the scene mode called Fireworks.