Following this question about capturing moving water and giving it that soft silky look in your images, someone specifically asked me what shutter speed you should use to get the “best” effect.
As with most things photography…
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
But I do have a basic guideline you can follow.
In a nutshell… The longer it takes for the water to move across your frame, the longer your shutter will need to be open to capture that movement.
And the time that the water takes to move across your frame is governed by two factors…
- How close you are to the moving water.
- How fast the water is actually moving.
So for example, many of the Seascapes I’ve taken in the past have some fast-moving water rushing around in the foreground – oftentimes just a metre or two in front of my lens (and yes, my camera has caught more than a few splashes in the past!).
Because I’m so close to the water, a fast-ish shutter speed of under half a second will usually allow enough water movement and create a nice silky effect.
Whereas, if I’m standing well back from the water and capturing a wider view of an ocean scene, with the waves lapping up against the shore in the distance…
Then even a 4-10 second exposure might still not give the same sense of movement in the water as the up-close faster shutter speed shot.
To try and summarise, it really comes down to;
- a) getting a good understanding of the basic concept of shutter speeds and…
- b) consider the rough guideline:
- close to the water / faster moving water = faster shutter speed
- far from the water / slower moving water = slower shutter speed
If this is something you’ve wondered about in the past, then I hope this helps! Let me know 🙂