Being creative using a slow shutter speed

By slowing down your shutter speed and adding movement, you can create some amazing and       abstract images

A slow shutter speed can create the illusion of movement.

When you experiment with some of the different shutter speeds from fast to slow you open the door to an unlimited variations on creative expression in your images.

By changing shutter speeds when shooting the same view can give you an array of variety that you may not have imagined before in an scene.

So for the most part in photography it is recommended to use a tripod to obtain the sharpest images even in difficult lighting conditions but sometimes breaking that rule can also give you some more creative ways to capture a more artsy or abstract image.

Let’s have a look at some things that you can try.

So normally you would lock the head of your tripod tight so to lessen or avoid camera shake and in so doing capturing a sharp image.  Well lets try something different. You are going to be moving the camera while taking an image and as you have already guessed, this is going to cause a blur in the image but it is the creative artsy blur that you are going after.

This type of shot can be done by moving the camera on a loose swivel of the tripod head or you can even do this freehand.  You experiment with what works best for you.

So let’s look for a subject.  You are looking for something that contains different colors or at least a stark contrast between light and dark in an scene.  Light aspen or birch trees in a green background can work well. Or tall grasses. Look for texture and detail.


Start with something similar to this image

So now set your camera to shutter priority “S” on Nikon or check your manual to see what shutter priority setting is on your camera.

So this will take a bit of experimenting as you will also be dealing with the brightness of the day.  But a good starting point or range is from 1/25th and 1/4th of a second, in that range will still leave you with some good texture detail in you image. But feel free to experiment to find the result you like best.

Now as you press the shutter button down, quickly move the camera up or down in a panning motion. You can also try moving it sideways to get a totally different effect.

Experiment with how fast or slow you move your camera and also with changing your shutter speeds in small increments.  This is where it is really nice to be shooting digital as you can see and adjust your image as you go.

This image was shot at F16, ISO 200 and 1/25th of a second.

One other fun thing to try this with also is on a windy day set a slow shutter to capture grasses moving implying the wind of the day.  

A tidbit is that it’s best to zoom in on your subject, and avoid sky or a large body of water.

Let me know if you found this interesting and if you have any comments or questions please leave them below.

2 thoughts on “Being creative using a slow shutter speed

  1. This is such a thorough and informative site. How unique and fun it is to slow down the shutter speed to take beautiful shots. Thank you so much for sharing all of your valuable information! I really loved it!

    1. Hi Shelli,
      Thanks for visiting my page. I am happy that you have found this post informative. Please feel free to drop by again as I am always adding more photography tidbits.
      If you have any photography related questions I can help you with please drop me a comment.

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