How to take fast-shutter-speed photos that aren't dark?

  • I was taking pictures of some water splashes. I knew I needed a fast shutter speed to make them look frozen in time.

    I have not used manual mode yet. I use the settings where I can pick the shutter speed and the camera picks the appropriate aperture (and vice versa).

    I am using the Canon 60D. My only lens currently is the 18-200mm kit lens.

    I set the shutter speed to about 2000. The picture overall looked good but the splash wasn't as sharp as I would have liked it. (I did not use a tripod but I held it pretty steady and my lens has IS)

    So I switched to the max shutter speed of 8000, I do not know how sharp it was, because the picture was too dark to see any detail.

    Why is this? It was midday, a little gloomy but still decent daylight. I know I could possibly have made it brighter by raising the ISO but I don't want the photo to look noisy either.

    Which ISO setting did you use anyway? you should be fine if you used anything to and including 800 anyway.

    @Robert, honestly I don't remember.

    Do it in a dim room and shoot with your flash. Max shutter speed will be 1/250 but it doesn't matter since the duration of the flash is much shorter (few thousandth of a second).

    I just think I should point out that very few situations really require a shutter speed of 1/2000s or slower. If you shot a propeller aircraft, you would use around 1/200 to get some "prop-spin" and at 1/1000 you would freeze it in mid-air.

  • When you set a shutter speed, the camera will increase and decrease the aperture to match the desired shutter speed. If your aperture is maxed out on either end, it'll over/under expose the image. There are a few newer cameras that have an auto-ISO feature, which will attempt to expand the range, but without knowing what kind of camera you have, I can't tell you if you have that feature or not.

    There are 3 ways to counteract underexposing, if this is the effect.

    1. Increase the ISO. This is the easiest, cheapest, and likely best way to improve performance, but might increase the noise.
    2. Increase the light. This can be done by waiting for better sunlight, external lighting, or even flash.
    3. Get a lens with a better max aperture setting- If you already have one, give it a shot. Otherwise, this might be expensive.

    Thanks for the info, I am using a Canon 60D do you know if it has the auto ISO feature?

    @John Isaacks it does, you can access it by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera. You might also need to access the main menu and set the "ISO Auto" option to a higher max number, this sets the maximum ISO the camera can automatically select (forcing it to adjusting the aperture further in this case)

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM