Experimenting with Shutter Speed | No. 7 in a Kids’ Photography SeriesPosted by Kelly Buss on Jun 6, 2012 in 365 With Kids, Blog | 2 comments
My sons have been shooting in Aperture Priority for several months and have developed a solid understanding of the relationship between aperture and depth of field. However, they were frustrated when they tried to capture anything in motion, so I knew it was time to introduce them to the mode Shutter Priority.
Shutter Priority allows them to investigate the connection between shutter speed and motion. I chose a simple motion scene, dropping a basketball from a step ladder, to try to teach them this new concept.
Step ladder, Big ball, Tripod
We set our step ladder up in the backyard, where the backdrop of our field and the horizon wouldn’t distract from the ball.
Be sure to choose a backdrop that makes your ball easy to spot, such as a garage door, fence, etc.
Next, place your camera on a tripod or a sturdy structure. This essential step keeps the camera perfectly still in slow shutter speeds and insures that each picture will be identical, with the exception of the shutter speed.
The Camera Settings
- Choose your ISO based on your lighting. We stuck with an ISO of 400 since we had an overcast day.
- One tip we discovered as we started shooting was to change the lens from Auto-Focus to Manual Focus. This removed the challenge of focusing exactly on the descending ball, which proved to be difficult for my 7 year-old son.
- Next, set your camera to Shutter Priority mode and choose a slow shutter speed, such as 1/8.
- Finally, change the drive mode to its fastest mode. On my Canon 60D that is the High Speed Continuous Shooting.
My oldest son Jacob dropped the ball while my other sons, Jesse and Jonah, took turns changing the shutter speed and pushing the shutter button. (My 3 year-old son Jeremiah enjoyed fetching the ball for Jacob after each drop.) Then they would bump up the shutter a few stops and repeat the process until they reached 1/1000.
Once they finished taking their shots, I helped them import their pictures into Lightroom where it would be easier for them to compare the photos.
Using their photos, we answered several questions about shutter speed.
- What shutter speed makes the ball look like it is floating?
- What shutter speed makes the ball look nearly invisible? What is the slowest shutter speed that will stop motion?
- Which shutter speed best shows the motion of the ball, but keeps Jacob in focus?
The boys enjoyed this practical experiment and learned valuable lessons in how to capture motion with a camera. Have fun coming up with your own motion scenes and be sure to share them in the kid’s gallery!
Are you following the Kids Series with your kids or for yourself? Share what you’ve discovered in the comments!