How to Control Shutter Speed During Low Light Conditions

Shutter speed is another of the trio settings of the camera or in the photography world. Correct shutter speed will increase the sharpness of your images. On the other hand, it can destroy all your effort on your frame. How to Control Shutter Speed During Low Light Conditions?    

What is Shutter Speed

So before reaching the core of our discussion, we should know what the shutter speed is. In a previous blog, I have discussed the aperture of the camera. I have also said about the hole of the lens through which we let the light go into the sensor. Now we are going to talk about the timing of that hole opening or for how much time you should open the hole. In other words, how much time you let the light go to the sensor. Yes, this timing is called shutter speed. You can adjust it through your camera thumb dial mode under manual and shutter speed priority mode only.

Explaining Shutter Speed

The camera metering mode will show you every time in the viewfinder the correct exposure what the sensor tells to show. But the point is that the sensor can only sense the light not your subject. So, in which subject condition what would be the appropriate shutter speed? You should know that and you should set accordingly. That’s why you have manual and shutter speed priority mode in every professional DSLR camera. Through these modes you can set your desired shutter speed. And after that, the camera will control the lens aperture and set the aperture opening time with you.

Basically, the trio settings of the camera look the same in normal eyes. If you increase the shutter speed you will get the dark image and if you decrease shutter speed you will get the bright or sometimes overexposed photos. But for a better photograph, we need a perfect combination of these trio settings. I have discussed the effect of aperture and now it’s time for the effect of the shutter speed. Shutter speed control will show your focus depth, sharpness, accurate color depth, the balance of highlight and low light area, etc. and will establish your photo as a good grammatical photo. But the point is how and when we should increase or decrease the shutter speed. At this time, we will discuss the three points of shutter speed setting or the necessity of shutter speed up or down.

Playing with Shutter Speed

Freezing the Subject and Effects of Low Shutter Speed – It’s basic that you know high shutter speed allows you to take a freezing image. In low shutter speed you will get the blur or shaky image. Both have their own specific effects on the photo frame. We need fast shutter speed or high shutter speed means 1/2000,1/4000, 1/8000 for very fast-moving subjects like wildlife, sports photographs or during street photographs.

In these situations, you should increase the shutter speed to the highest for the sharp subject. You can do the same through the manual mode or the shutter speed priority mode on your camera. But simultaneously you should keep your eye on the aperture in manual mode, not a matter of concern in the shutter speed priority mode because the camera will adjust the aperture automatically. This setting is for the lighted condition means day time or somewhere you get enough light to increase the shutter speed.  

But in the low light condition, you cannot increase the shutter speed much as the light condition does not permit you to do so. You should increase the ISO to speed up the shutter speed. You could use the open aperture lens like f1.8, 2.8 lenses but those are very costly. In low shutter speed, there is another chance to get a shaky image as our body shakes with our heartbeat and also for breathing purpose. So, you could use a tripod, hold your breath during the shutter time for getting rid of this problem. But again, I am telling you a low shutter speed has its own established path to create great creative frames as discussed previously.

Controlling the Highlight

Another aspect for speeding up the shutter speed is control of the highlight. For example, you are clicking wildlife photos. Your subject is a bird and its white feather. You could easily freeze it in 1/2000 sec shutter speed. The point is, if you increase the shutter speed more you will get the depth of white area or the highlighted area without decreasing the exposure. I always use this setting because I don’t like to take photos of underexposed conditions. Always use the correct exposure during clicking. You will get the maximum sharpness and crystal photos. Remember, underexposed photos are full of noise and it reduces the image sharpness.

The trick to Increase the Shutter Speed During Low Light Condition

Often we struggle to get the shutter speed in low light condition. We cannot freeze our image or we increase the ISO very much. Photo reduces the clarity and establishes so much unwanted noise which looks dirty or shaky when it is not. Again, you try to reduce the noise during editing; the software reduces the size and also the sharpness. So how would you speed up the shutter speed? You should increase the exposure at the highest means +4, +5 stop ahead according to the subject without increasing the ISO. As you are not increasing the ISO no issue for the sharpness. And again, as you increase the exposure there is no chance to get an underexposed photo or the issue of noise.

So how you would do so. Set your camera in manual mode and then increase the exposure then increase the shutter speed to your desired level. I am quite sure that you will be able to increase 1/20-1/40 sec shutter speed from what you get in a normal camera setting. And further, this setting gives you a very dramatic light effect or balancing effect between the high light and low light.

So, what are you thinking for? Go and adjust your shutter speed accordingly and be the master on this.

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