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The shutter speed has an affect on your exposure when shooting time-lapse motion (and can serve as an additional exposure control). When shooting under bright light, you’ll keep the time the shutter is open very short.  For low-light you’re going to need to open things up a bit.

However, shutter speed much more significant than just exposure control. The decision to use a short or long shutter can have considerable impact on the quality of motion in your image.

A short shutter (1/125 or faster) depicts motion that is sharp and staccato in its movement.

A longer shutter (1/30 or less) progressively elongates and stretches movement. This is the effect you see when the brake lights of cars appear as long streaks on a highway or running water seems fluid and without detail.

Short and long shutter speeds are techniques you use in your still photography, and they can work in time-lapse photography to stunning effect.

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  1. […] The Shutter Matters When Shooting Time-lapse Photography […]


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


Technique & Tutorials