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Home > Photography Tips, Videos & More > Photography Tips & Tutorials > Composition > Shutter Speeds – how they change mood in an image

Shutter Speeds – how they change mood in an image


By David Akoubian

Posted: July 26th, 2011 @ 6:09am


When I am creating images, my goal it to draw the viewer into the image with great light and subject matter. The composition of the image is how I try to lead the viewer through the image and eventually lead them to key points within the image. In order to keep the viewer interested it is important to form an “emotional” bond with the viewer. If everything is technically strong you can get someone’s attention, but in order to keep them in the image, they have to feel something there.

Shutter speed is one of the tools that I use to do just that. Art Wolfe did a book several years ago titled Migrations, I will from time to time pick up the book to help inspire me when I am photographing. Art emphasizes the importance of varying your shutter speeds to give the viewer different looks at the subjects.

Big animals don’t move as quickly, so we are used to seeing them standing still. Medium and smaller animals are on the move often and it is great to show the constant walking, trotting or running of those animals.

On my recent trip to the Tetons, we had several opportunities to photograph the horses on the ranch going out to pasture in the evenings. I made the decision on 2 of the those nights to vary my approach to photographing them.
 

One night I shot my Tamron 200-500mm lens wide open to achieve sharp details in the horses as they ran by me. This resulted in a quicker shutter speed, somewhere around 1/500th of a second.
 

On the other night, I tried the opposite and shot at f16 to slow the movement by causing the shutter speed to be slow, somewhere around 1/8th of a second. The subject matter in the images are the same, but the mood that the shutter speed variance caused is very different. Do I like one more then the other? Not really, I like them both for different reasons.
 




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