Shutter Speed in Food Photography #3

Alongside our Aperture and ISO. Shutter speed is one of the three key pillars of photography. Like mentioned in my photography basics 101. What occurs when we click the button on our camera? When we click the button on our DSLR a mirror flips up allowing the light to come through our lens into the camera. The longer this shutter is kept open the more light enters our camera. Have you ever wondered how to photograph pouring liquid?

What does shutter speed do, and how can we use it?

In summary shutter speed is the length of time our camera is open to light. With our shutter speed we can also freeze an action or create movement in our images. For example we can freeze that drool worthy drizzle shot. Capture an image of dusting a cake with icing sugar. Or in lifestyle photography you can capture a sporting event or an animal in wildlife. The shutter speed we decide on will directly affect our final image. Creating a different look and feel overall.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds, therefore increasing the shutter speed increases the exposure time. The opposite applies when we lower the shutter speed. When we are shooting with more light, a faster shutter speed is possible because we have more light coming in directly to our lens due to our surroundings. However when we are shooting with a low amount of light, slower shutter speeds will be needed as we don’t have as much light coming into our lens.

What does this mean? For example have you ever seen those beautiful star gazing photographs? or a photo of the milky way? Photographers have to use a longer shutter speed in order to capture as much light as possible. These long-exposure Images can be around 2-minutes.

Learn how to photograph pouring liquid using shutter speed

It will be very unlikely that with food photography you will be faced with these type of long exposures. However there is one rule I would highly suggest you follow when it comes to shutter speed. When shooting by hand a general rule of thumb is to not shoot below 1/6o of a second as the movement from our hands can cause motion blur in our images.

When shooting an action shot such as dusting icing sugar over your cakes, or pouring melted chocolate over your brownies. You will need a higher shutter speed to freeze the action. The exact shutter speed will change depending on your camera and your light settings. However I tend to stay above 1/200  or higher for action shots in food photography in order to freeze the movement.

I hope this blog post has helped you learn and understand how to photograph pouring liquid using your shutter speed. And enjoy putting it into practice.


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