Questions but no answers for you

March 01, 2021

Some Questions

The image is there in front of you. Right there and you are about to press the button immortalising your vision to the sensor or film. But wait have you?

Are you getting the movement you want in the frame, be it none at all, intended or unintended? Basically, is the shutter speed right? Too slow and then the wind catches the subject, and it moves. Or, worse still the camera moves, and you get this inadvertent blur. Conversely, you could want some movement and the shutter speed is too high removing that deliberate blur. This supposes that you have the questions about composition sorted.

Shutter speed

The shutter speed will govern how much movement you have within the timespan of the shot. So 1000th will give no movement in most cases unless it is moving very, very, quickly. 1/25th is quite slow. It is possible to handhold at this speed but more than likely you will see some blur. Now unless this is what you want it is best to put the camera on a tripod or alter some of the other settings to increase the shutter speed. It depends on how you work.

So, freezing the action or allowing some movement?

How much of the image is acceptably sharp? You only have one plane of focus.  The leaf might be perfectly sharp but how much else do you want and where do you want that plane of focus to be? This can be controlled by the aperture of the lens. The Hole you can see when you look down the front of it. f4 is a wide aperture and f22 is a narrow aperture.


A wide aperture gives a relatively small amount of sharpness to the front and rear. Portrait photographers use this to accentuate the face and make it stand out. Sometimes I use f1.8, which is the widest my lens goes to, but you could go to f1.4 or f.8. This throws the rear of the image out of focus and blurs it all making the subject stand out.

A narrow aperture gives a greater range of sharpness front and rear which tends to be used by landscape photographers to ensure the maximum amount of the image is sharp.

What do you want sharp in the image, what do you want to accentuate, how would you do this?


There is a third element to this, that is the ISO this governs how sensitive the sensor is. If you read any photo magazine, they will talk about noise. This is the distortion caused by the current running over the sensor. Typically, the lower the ISO the cleaner the image. So, the native lowest setting could be 100 or 64 however higher settings, say around 3200 or 6400 the image starts to degrade a bit with artefacts from noise. Most modern sensors and firmware have ways of sorting it out, but you need to be aware.

This leaves us with 3 controls to play with to achieve your vision. Shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Each one you alter has an effect on the others. Do you want a clean image with no movement then a low ISO and high shutter speed should do but it is likely that you will have a shallow depth of field? Slowing the shutter speed will improve the depth of field but then you may get movement. You could increase the ISO and keep the shutter speed and aperture, but you might get some noise, is this acceptable?

Frustratingly, despite everyone asking there are no right or wrong answers to this 3-sided balancing act. It is what works for you to achieve what you want. Therefore it follows that there is no point in asking for settings for a certain image because the settings that someone else gives you might not be what you want for your image.

It comes down to learning your camera and how it works

If you have read this far and have questions please drop me a line and I will do my best to answer. If you want to see some images where these questions have been asked and answered, sometimes incorrectly then feel free to check out my Instagram HERE

Many thanks for reading



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *