If you own a DSLR camera, you have the option of shooting in Shutter Priority Mode.
Shutter Priority Mode is designated by Tv (time value) on a Canon camera, and by S on Nikon cameras.
In Shutter Priority Mode, the user chooses the specific shutter speed they prefer and the camera automatically adjusts the aperture accordingly. Like Aperture Priority Mode, it is a semi-automatic mode of operation for your camera.
Why would you want to shoot in Shutter Priority Mode?
Shutter speed effects how you, as a photographer, capture movement. Thus, Shutter Priority Mode is most often used to capture a moving subject.
A faster shutter speed "freezes" the motion of your subject. A slower shutter speed will show motion as a blur.
Shutter Priority Mode is the mode for action. When I was first learning, I used to think "S for sports; S for Shutter Speed. It helped me to remember when I might want to use Shutter Priority Mode, although there are many types of action shots besides sports shots.
(By the way, I'm not using my own photos as examples today – I didn't have time to go through my thousands of photos to find perfect examples so I pulled some from stock photo sites instead.)
Here are some shutter speed guidelines you might find helpful:
1. Use one second (or even much slower speeds) at night/dusk to make the water in a waterfall look like a smooth blur or to capture city lights or to get "light trails" of moving vehicles. * Use a tripod! *
2. Use 1/30 to 1/8 of a second for panning with the motion of your subject. (Using a tripod works best here too!) Panning is when you follow the subject as it moves. The subject appears sharp and the background will be blurred.
3. Use 1/500 to 1/2000 of a second when action is moving side to side or up and down.
4. Use 1/250 of a second when action is coming towards your camera.
For the best results, Shutter Priority Mode is often combined with Al Servo AF Mode /Canon – Continuous AF/Nikon.
It takes a little practice to get it right, but don't give up. You can do it – I know you can!
Those of us living in the United States have a three day, holiday, weekend ahead of us. I hope everyone takes lots of photos and then shares them on our Flickr site!
© Twenty Four At Heart