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The Shutter Matters When Shooting Time-lapse Photography

scyther5 / iStockphoto

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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