What is the best shutter speed for wedding photography?

Wedding photography is the most crucial type of photography. As a professional photographer, you must pay full attention to this kind of photography. If you can’t handle everything professionally at a wedding party, it will hurt your career. On the other hand, you will have a brighter job if you can prove your professionalism. And you need to learn wedding photography camera settings to demonstrate your professionalism.

If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.

Have you ever composed your shot, exposed it perfectly, and finally pressed that shutter to find a soft photo on your camera’s screen when a soft photo was not your intention? There’s a good chance that your shutter speed could be your culprit. Fret not; we will go over shutter speed definition, the types of shutter speeds, and how they can be used in wedding photography.

Some Essential Wedding Photography Camera Settings

RAW Format:

RAW is a kind of file format capturing all the data of a particular image when you shoot a photo. It is the best choice to shoot wedding photos. It enables you to get high-quality images when you set up the Raw file format. To clarify, the RAW form helps you correct overexposed photos, white balance, and brightness.

On the other hand, you will get some poor-quality photos if you choose the JPEG format. It is because the information of the image is compressed when you choose the JPEG format. And the story, which is essential for high quality, is lost as well.

Wide Aperture

The aperture of a camera is one of the most significant parts that help a photographer shoot splendid photos. It is a hole within the lens of your camera. This segment allows natural light to travel into the main body of the camera.

If the value of the aperture is lesser than f/5.0, it is called a wide aperture. And a wide aperture helps the camera focus on the critical subject, leaving the background blurred. A narrow aperture can never help you in this regard.

As a result, a wide aperture is excellent to capture outstanding wedding photos. Our exclusive range of Melbourne wedding photography will help you not miss a thing on your wedding day.

Auto White Balance

It does not matter whether you are shooting photos at a wedding or a public program. Your camera will undoubtedly require you to set up the white balance. It is essential for any photography on the planet. You need to set the white balance to balance the colour temperature of a particular image.

For this purpose, you can set up your camera both manually and automatically. While you are shooting wedding photos, you should depend on auto white balance. Most of the cameras available on the market come with the auto option. Let’s check out if your camera has the chance.

Fast Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed plays a vital role in helping you shoot splendid photos at a wedding party. You will always get a wedding party as a bustling place. People do not hang out in one place all the time at such a part. You can’t shoot professional photos at a bustling place without setting the perfect shutter speed.

In this case, you have to set up a faster shutter speed to shoot photos instantly. Most of the photography veterans say that 1/60th sec is the perfect shutter speed for wedding photography. But there is nothing to worry about your choice. You can change your shutter speed depending on the requirements.

Focus and Recompose

Focus and Recompose must be considered seriously while shooting wedding photos. Focus and recompose is choosing the focus of your camera by half-pressing your shutter. While doing this, keep in mind that you have to place your subject at the centre.

Afterwards, recompose according to your taste; if you are satisfied with the recomposition, full-press release the shutter’s button. Now you are ready to capture some sharp images for your clients. For this purpose, Focus and Recompose are mandatory for wedding photography.

High ISO

At the time of the wedding photoshoot, try to use a higher ISO. If you are not concerned about ISO, let us know what it is. ISO is the unit of measuring the light sensitivity of the film. ISO is generally measured by numbers such as ISO 100, ISO400, ISO 1600, etc. If the ISO is of higher numbers, it means that your film has a high sensitivity to light. On the contrary, a lower-numbered ISO is not highly sensitive to light.

If you use a higher ISO, it will enable you to shoot higher-quality photos in different situations. A higher ISO allows you to use a faster speed of your shutter and a smaller aperture of your camera lens. But it would help if you remembered that you have to use a reasonable high ISO.

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Shutter Speed Definition And Use In Wedding Photography

What is the best shutter speed for wedding photography?

Let’s start with the basics. Shutter speed definition is the period your camera’s shutter remains open before shutting. While free, the shutter allows light to reach your camera’s sensor while it focuses on your subject.

Now, if you don’t know what the shutter is, the shutter is a plastic, cloth, or metal curtain (depending on the camera) that opens and closes for a determined period when the shutter button is triggered. The most important part of this process that affects your photo is the committed time you determine! Depending on the image you are trying to achieve, you have to tell your camera whether to open and close the shutter faster, slower, or even keep it open for an extended period.

The light-making contact with the sensor will create an image that the naked eye could not; this is just another tool to express your artistry truly. Shutter speed is just another tool in your art arsenal to help define and capture what you want in your image. Learning it and practising it will be to your advantage. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here. 

Types of Shutter Speeds

Fast Shutter Speed 

For this article, we use a shutter speed definition of “fast” when it isn’t blurry when handheld. For the most part, anything 1/100 of a second or faster will tend to freeze motion. I’d recommend 1/320 second to freeze action if you can afford it (if there’s enough light). Lots of nice, natural light will allow for a fast shutter speed.

This will let you play with the aperture and lower the ISO so you can get a nice, crisp, short image with low noise. If there’s a WHOLE LOT of light, you can close the aperture so that the background and foreground are both in focus (F/8 or more minor) and have a fast shutter speed and low ISO (200 or 100). This is ideal for an image.

When you think of a fast shutter speed, you can imagine trying to freeze the action in front of you. For example, use the photo above. To stop things from falling, you will require a fast shutter speed, such as 1/200, 1/400, or even 1/1000, to freeze whatever is in your frame. This tactic could also work for shots consisting of falling snow or fast-moving subjects. A sports photographer could use this method to capture a basketball player midair, getting ready to slam a basketball into the hoop. 

Maintaining a Fast Shutter Speed with Flash

However, we all know that ideal lighting conditions are rare, so understanding your camera’s shutter is KEY to making your image look the way you want it to. If it’s low light (as almost every wedding is), it can be very, very difficult to get images that turn out without a flash. Once you’ve opened the aperture to its widest possible setting and bumped up your ISO up to 3200 or higher, and your camera is telling you that you still need a shutter speed of 1/30 or 1/15.. what do you do?? As a wedding photographer, flash is the last resort. It can disrupt the mood and draw attention to you. But in a situation like this one, flash might be necessary. It’s OK to use flash when all else has failed. Flash will keep your shutter speed between 1/60 and 1/200, just the right amount of speed to get the right image.

Just keep in mind, with a higher shutter speed, you will have to compensate for your exposure. As you scale up on your shutter speed, you’re telling your camera to shut the curtain in front of the sensor quicker. Which, in return, will cause less light to reach your sensor. You can compensate for that by lowering your camera’s aperture to a lower f-stop or boosting up your ISO. Be cautious of your camera’s ISO because the more grain you could introduce into your image, the higher you go. Now that could be good or bad determining the image you’re trying to capture.

Slow Shutter Speeds

We’ll use a shutter speed definition as “mid-range” or “slow” for anything between 1/100 and 1 second for this blog. We’ll define this way because it can be “iffy” if a shot turns out without blurring within this range when handheld. You can handhold a one-second shutter speed, but it rarely turns out. For weddings and hand-holding images, we’d recommend a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second or faster. A slower shutter speed is quite the opposite. With a slower shutter speed, you’re allowing your camera’s shutter to open and close at a slower rate, which may or may not introduce motion blur. A slower shutter speed is more popularly used. With shutter speeds from 1/100 to 1 second, these speeds could generally be used for all photography that consists of slower-paced movements or no movements unless your intentions are for motion blur like the photo above. The image above gives you an example of an object’s effect in motion and two subjects not in motion while shooting with a slower shutter speed. While the shutter opens, the water continues to move, but the couple does not. In the end, it creates a dreamy photo where the water is smooth like clouds, but the couple remains sharp.

Long Shutter Speed

Your long shutter speeds are where the magic happens! We’ll use a shutter speed definition of 1 second or more extended in this article. If you’re looking for truly dramatic or dreamy photos, using a long exposure can get you there. Notching your shutter speed above one second is about the range you enter into long shutter speeds. Some may refer to it as long exposure. In setting your camera to this, you’re allowing your shutter to stay open for a long time before closing. Which will help a lot of light reach your camera’s sensor and expose your image? For shots taken in a city, you’ll probably end up with stunning light trails from cars and other moving light sources. In a more secluded place, away from light pollution, you could achieve amazing photos like the milky way.

When attempting longer shutter speeds, you will have to relieve yourself from handheld duty and invest in a tripod to get a decent image. With a tripod, you can keep your camera from shakes that would ultimately result in a blurry mess. You could also need a remote shutter with a tripod, depending on how long you leave your shutter open.

Slow Motion Blur

What is the best shutter speed for wedding photography?

Dragging the shutter is an essential photographic technique often put to highly creative use by the best wedding photojournalists. Whether depicting the bride mid-whir during a dance or documenting a child bounding down the aisle at the church, dragging the shutter helps produce images that contain a sense of motion and bring an added dose of festivity to what, for some, already feels like a whirlwind day.

When photographers “drag” the shutter by slowing down its speed, they effectively lengthen the exposure to create a motion effect. Optionally, a burst of flash can also freeze the primary subject in the foreground.

By keeping the shutter open that fraction of a second longer during a flash photograph, the camera can pick up more ambient light from the background, producing a warmer photo with more distant detail. Otherwise, in poorly lit rooms (in which wedding events are often held), such as reception and catering halls, you can end up with photos of people who look like they’re in a pitch-black cave.

Whether you choose to drag the shutter or light the flash, the overall result is a more dynamic photo with more storytelling possibilities. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

Around We Go: Circular Motion

Face it: There’s a reason they call it a “wedding party.” Once the music starts, most attendees—from grandmas and grandpas down to the flower girls—take it as a cue to get down.

With all the spinning, shaking, and gyrating that comes with the dancing, WPJA members will sometimes choose to drag the shutter to show the partiers’ movement. Paired with a flash, this produces a sort of controlled blurring of the background while keeping a sharp focus on the primary subject.

Photographers most often use this technique during reception dancing, mainly traditional circular dances like the Jewish or Greek horas. The result adds to the moment’s festive atmosphere and heightened emotions, allowing the viewer to experience the controlled chaos on the floor thoroughly.

To illustrate—during the circle dance, when everyone is moving from left to right in concentric circles, the photojournalist will usually rotate with the subject they’re trying to shoot, panning the camera by moving it laterally across the overall scene to increase the background blur and sharpen the issue. The photographer will then move from left-to-right to get the desired effect while the subject moves right-to-left, freezing them with the flash and leaving the surrounding party goers as a blur.

One of the primary keys to successfully taking these photos is using the rear-curtain sync feature on the camera, whereby the flash goes off at the end of the exposure rather than at the beginning of it. That allows the camera to record the motion and then freeze it at the back with a pop of the flash.

Conversely, with the front-curtain sync, where the flash goes off first, and then the camera picks up motion, the motion can distort the moment you are trying to freeze.

Going Flash-Less

Dragging the shutter can allow you to use the blur to your advantage, creating the subject’s effect crossing your path. This helps capture a sense of movement, an effect commonly seen in professional photographs of auto racing. Otherwise, shooting a photo at an adequate speed to stop the action produces an image that lacks that same dynamic atmosphere.

Of course, the greater focal length of a long lens increases the likelihood of noticeable camera shake and motion blur at slower shutter speeds, which sometimes may be creatively desirable. Generally speaking, a 50mm lens should be used with a shutter speed no slower than 1/50th sec for a sharp image. Going slower than that will probably yield that motion blur, whether desired or not. A 24mm lens has the same effect at about 1/25th second; a 100mm lens at 1/100th sec. Some wedding photographers will even try to get the shutter speed down to 1/15 of a second or slower with a 24mm wide lens, or down to at least 1/60 of a second with a longer lens to create maximum blur.

During a typical wedding day, many moments may perfectly lend themselves to using this technique, from the bride’s hurried preparations at home to members of the wedding party walking down the aisle, to the newly-crowned couple exiting the church as husband and wife for the very first time.

In any of these instances, panning the camera along your subject’s path of movement will create that stunning “frozen in time” effect, complete with the motion-blurred background. When editing the shot, retain as much of the motion-filled background as possible, as this is indeed what gives the moment life and a sense of place.

Panning the camera across the scene with a slow shutter speed also turns any light source, be it candles or light bulbs, into streaks of light, which can create some cool effects. Twisting the camera in a circle during a long exposure produces circular spots of light. Another trick to try is zooming in or out while the shutter is open, creating funky effects. Experiment, but understand that some techniques can be challenging to nail down as planned.

Blurring the Scene

Dragging the shutter at a plodding speed of one second or more can produce some dramatic images that capture the room’s ambience. Using a tripod, you can create photos that record the furniture, decorations, and other static objects while blurring the scene’s motion together.

Suppose you’re lucky enough to have access to a balcony. In that case, you can create an extreme effect by taking an overhead shot of the party with a stationary camera, opening up the shutter, and pulling in some psychedelic blur. The inadequate indoor lighting can help with the result, providing a warm glow that perfectly captures the reception’s mood.

Don’t Overdo It

Dragging the shutter is undoubtedly a much-used staple for ensuring that enough ambient light can enter the pictures. Many photojournalists use this option at receptions because of its ability to bring more detail into the background.

But beyond that, this technique has the potential for overuse, adding blurs and lines that can give guests a bit of motion sickness if there aren’t enough other photos to slow down the day. Dragging the shutter to add a more artistic touch should be used in modest measures, providing a nice contrast to the action photos that capture a freeze-frame of, say, dancers in midair or a quick kiss between the bride and groom.

Also, results will vary. Despite all your practice and skill, taking photos using a technique with so many moving parts can inevitably lead to some throwaways. So, are you willing to gamble on a moment the couple expects to see? It may be a good idea and a safe bet to pass on dragging the shutter for some of the wedding’s most poignant moments.

It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that age-old advice: Keep it simple in anything you do. In wedding photojournalism, the most potent special effect will always be a happy couple.

Utilizing Shutter Speed In Wedding Photography

For weddings, shutter speed is your friend, along with the rest of the exposure triangle. The shutter speed helps to provide tac sharp photos when you need them. It’s important because you could fix a dark or bright photo in post-production, but more than likely, you will not be able to do the same for a blurry image. For ceremonies, we recommend not going under 1/60 seconds to avoid getting blurry vision. For receptions, being that there’s a good chance, you’ll be using lighting, shooting between 1/200th to 1/60th will provide the best images. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

Locate Shutter Speed On Your Camera

You now know more about the shutter speed definition, but now you need to know where to find and monitor it! You’re provided with an LCD screen on many cameras located on the back of your camera, where all your information is displayed for monitoring. You can identify your shutter speed by the number most likely as a fraction, such as 1/The Number Here. If the number happens to be a number above or equal to one second, then your number will appear with quotations, such as 15″. Other places you could probably locate your shutter speed are on your camera’s top LCD panel (if it applies) or your viewfinder.