How slow to shoot...

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by patrick_s|2, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. How slow are people sable to be photographed, assuming the camera is
    on a tripod...?
    I read another post where someone said their "typical wedding
    exposures were a f8 at 1/15th of a second. Seems risky. I like to
    shoot at 1/60th minimum on a tripod, and prefer to go handheld at
    Oh, I use a blad system with a 60mm.

  2. The onset of camera shake is one reason to shoot faster than 1/15 second but some equipment, and some photographers' skills and abilities, make camera shake a minimal issue at such shutter speeds.

    Subject motion is a whole nother enchilada, and I do think it comes into play when shutter speeds get down to 1/15 second. Some subjects move more (and faster) than others.

    Of course, back in the olden days photographers would have loved to shoot as FAST as 1/15 second, so everything is relative, even the people to whom you're not related.
  3. Depends on the lighting conditions, subject motion, and how steady you are in operating your equipment. At receptions, where the ambient light is low, the flash freezes your subject even if they are dancing wildly and if you use a slower shutter speed, you pick up a little of the ambient light. So f8 at 1/15th with 400 speed gets you some detail in the background. f8 at 1/250th will give you very dark or black backgrounds. If it is outside and the ambient light is fairly close to the settings you choose for the camera, you'll get ghosting if you use flash, so for the processional outside, for instance, you'll get ghosted pictures if you use f8 at 1/30th or even 1/60th, even if your subject is walking fairly slowly down the aisle. If you shoot everything at f8 and 1/60th on a tripod and 1/250th handheld, you won't get (or get minimal) motion blur, but your reception backgrounds (and even some outdoor backgrounds) may go pitch black. If you and your clients don't mind that then your shooting method is fine. Outdoors, the "rules" about freezing subject motion apply--I think the guidelines are something like 1/125th for a walking subject, 1/500th or 1/1000th and up for a running or fast moving subject, etc. I use a Hasselblad, and with the 50, 60, or 80mm lens, I sometimes shoot at 1/15th handheld but I concentrate before releasing the shutter and use the method outlined in the Hasselblad manual about bracing the prism against your forehead and pulling your elbows in. For my 120mm lens, I try not to go slower than 1/30th, and try to use 1/60th if possible. This is all handheld, and the photos are sharp. I don't know why, but the Hasselblad, even with it's large moving mirror, is somehow made so that you can use pretty slow speeds. On a tripod you should be able to use very slow speeds with a cable release, including bulb. It is recommended that you use mirror lock-up once you get to 1/4th second and slower.
  4. The 1/15th sec at F8 is with flash.In flash photography,the shutter speed is really the flash duration,which is usually between 1/500-1/2000th sec.Shooting at 1/15th w/flash is known as "dragging the shutter".This lets the dark background gain exposure.Handheld w/o flash with a 50-60mm lens on a medium format camera,I wouldnt shoot below 1/125th.
  5. Since these are tripod shots, I assume that they are formals/portraits. Subjects can stay still enough to go down to 1/4 sec. What is an issue when you go slower than 1/60 sec. is how stable your camera/tripod is. A photographer that I worked with, and used a Hasselblad, would set his rig with a quick release plate that consisted of the camera, a bracket and a quantum flash on a Bogen pistol grip ball head. This isn't a very stable setup (the flash would be mounted but not used) so for shutter speeds 1/60 sec. and slower he always uses mirror lock up. You need to find out at what shutter speed and vibration become a factor by taking some test shots with the mirror locked up. You also need to use a cable release.
  6. Minimum shutter speeds shooting available light, handheld:

    Hasselblad V: @ closest shutter speed at or above focal length due to huge mirror slap,
    (60mm @ 1/60th or 1/125th, 100mm @ 1/125th, 180mm @ 1/250th... but I cheat ; -)

    Leica M: lower shutter speed than focal length due to no mirror slap at all... one of the
    lesser known advantages of a rangefinder camera. 28mm @ 1/15th or 1/20th, 35mm @
    1/25th, 50mm @ 1/30th, 75mm@ 1/50th, 90mm @ 1/60th (all depending on amount of
    caffeine consumed).

    Two Starbuck's Cafe Latte Grandies... double the shutter speeds above.
  7. Oh, one thing often forgotten... the further away you are from the subject the less camera
    movement shows up in normal sized prints. Also, the wider the lens the less apparent the

    On a tripod, subject movement is often less of a problem than not using a cable release. It
    is amazing how much camera movement there is when you press the shutter release
    button. I did a job where images had to be pin registered for layering, and just the
    pressure of pressing the release forced us to sand-bag the tripod, lock up the mirror and
    use a cable release. No one could even walk in the room while we were shooting.
  8. That's a GREAT question and it proves that your're REALLY thinking about your product.

    No two people and subjects are the same, so there are no 'hard' rules.

    Ambient light, your ability to hold a camera steady, and your subjects 'freeze' capability are the factors.

    Bracket your photos TV in varying conditions to learn what's best for you.

    When shooting digital as a paid PJ, I first shoot an 'insurance shot' to make sure I got it. If your using digicam check the histo and pic. Assuming it worked, I then get creative.

    On action candids I never go below 1/50 because the subject movement is speedy. somebody said shoot 1/4 sex...oops i'm fruedian on qwerty keyboards - I meant 1/4 sec!

    AMBIENT LIGHT IS KING...use it as much as you CAN!

  9. Thanks to all who posted. I am gonna do some shutter dragging this weekend and test my tripod's abilities.

    I have an old pair of gitzo studex legs, but its the $50 bogen ball head I doubt.

  10. Hello Pat.
    How to shoot (anything) anytime, especially in a portrait: you can shoot any camera mounted on a tripod at any speed, your in-camera (or hand-held) meter reading for the ambient light being the critical guide, whatever that reading is: say f/5.6 @ 1/60th sec or f/11 @ 125th sec. Your question really is regarding fill (if any), not proper exposure.
    So with Portra 160 for example, and an ambient reading of f/5.6 @ 1/15th sec, you would just shoot, hoping not to get blinkers or nodders or twitchers. Of course you would want to insure success by making more than one exposure of each altar return/formal set-up or pose.
    The rule of thumb for hand-held shots is shutter speed equal to or faster than the lens reciprocal (but you knew that). For your 60mm Medium format then, a shutter speed of 1/60th sec obviates camera shake. But you also know the wider the lens, the less obvious are the effects of camera shake. But the same setting would would more than likely give you horrible camera shake effects with a 150 lens on your Hassie.
    I digress. On a tripod? There are no set formulas cast in stone. The only thng to remember is tripod mounted, you shoot as slow as it takes to make a properly exposed ambient light exposure, human factors considered and included.
    You did not mention flash but your flash setup should match (1 to 1) or slower (2 or 3 to 1) your ambient reading, whatever that turned out to be.
    As for weddings? Walk up to the Bride, meter her face in the ambient light, set that reading on the camera(s) then do your people/flash setups/poses.
    Since nothing and nobody else is as important as she, match your exposures to the "Bride" reading.

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