with Courtney Slazinik
7 Tips to Show Movement with Slow Shutter Speed
Manual Mode

7 Tips to show movement with slow shutter speed via Click it Up a Notch

One of the things I love about shooting in manual mode is the ability to use the camera to get some creative photos. You can not achieve these shots on auto. Just another reason to make the jump away from the green box.

1. You need a tripod. Unless you have hands of steel you will not be able to have a sharp photo without a tripod.

ss 1.3 sec, ISO 100, f2.8

2. Lower your shutter speed. Slow your shutter speed way down. I’m talking 1/5 or even 5 seconds. The amount of time you want to leave your shutter open all depends on the effect you want to achieve. There isn’t a magic number.

3. May need to close up your aperture. Since your shutter speed is open for so long you will be bringing in a lot of light. In order to get your meter where you need it, you may need to close up your aperture (raise the number) Again, there is not magic number.

ss 20 sec, ISO 800, f32 (not sure why ISO is so high, Oops :O)

4. Keep your ISO as low as possible. Since you are shooting with a tripod and a slow shutter speed there really isn’t any reason to raise your ISO which may cause noise/grain. I try to keep it pretty low since if you need more light you can just lower your shutter speed even more.

ss 1/5, ISO 100, f6.3

5. Shot people in motion. Parent standing still while the children run crazy or kids hand’s in motion when they play a game.

ss 1/8, ISO 640, f14

6. Show the movement of water.

ss 2.5 sec, ISO 100, f32

7. Show trails of light. Use a flashlight to write words or shapes and show the movement of cars.

ss 13sec, ISO 100, f22

ss 6 sec, ISO 100, f22

Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

  • January 24, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    I love this! I have been trying to find the right settings and now I finally have a nice tripod to be able to really work on this. Love this effect.

  • January 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    just bought glow sticks and will be trying this very soon! great shots – really beautiful!!!


  • January 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    This has been on my brain since your photo with the kids running through your kitchen. I tried the other day, but didn’t use my tripod, duh… Can’t wait to try again. Thanks for the tips!

  • January 24, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Great photos. I really need to get out and take some night time photos. I love the one of you standing there and them running by you. So cute.

  • January 24, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    One of my favorite posts thus far. Maybe, it is due to the fact that I was thinking last week that I wanted to try a few photos, such as these. Maybe, that will be my goal this week.

    I enjoyed them all!!!

  • January 25, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    oh, I LOVE doing these. However, I never do it! I really must make time for this. Nicely nicely done!

  • January 25, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Love this, Courtney. Thanks for the tips! I want to do a traffic picture. . .maybe Paris this spring? Oooh!

  • January 25, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    thanks for the tips!!! so much I want to try!

  • July 1, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    picture number 5 is amazing good did it take many shots?

    • July 1, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      Yes, it took me a while to figure out I needed to pick a spot on the wall to start and stop at so the heart would meet in the same place!! It was fun though!

  • July 1, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    I meant parent in motion because you have mum standing so it would be so easy to have some blur but she is so crisp

    • July 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      I’m sorry! That is actually me…so yes it took some practice. I focused on an area of the wall where I thought my head would be. Set my camera and tripod up with a remote. Then I stood VERY still :O)

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Inspired to try more of this!

  • Kat
    September 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Thanks for putting it all in a nutshell, easy & short, can’t wait to read the rest. This made my day! Thanks!

  • Nicole Stone
    November 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I stumbled upon your blog because of the Favorite Things giveaway…but finding your blog was a gift :) I can’t wait to spend more time reading your helpful tips, in a way that I can understand! Thank you!

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    One of my favorite things to come up with I love using a slow shutter!

  • Lori Brooks
    January 4, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Great ideas! I need to venture over to the creative side :-)

  • Heidi
    November 20, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    During a 30-day project this summer, I played with this concept a bit. My favorites included a neighbor girl running (black and white), a flag flapping against the backdrop of a blue sky (daytime), and pictures of freeway cars at night. I stood on an overpass (it took a while to find one that didn’t have street lights), and took pictures both directions (facing east, and then facing west). Because the overpass has chain link to prevent falls/jumps, I had to wedge my camera lends between the links and make sure to focus beyond. I couldn’t use the tripod, so I had to brace the camera with the fence. My husband and I also found an app for our iPhones where you could turn the screen a solid color (and change the color between shots). Then he stood in the dark and made shapes. He made a sweet pink heart for me, and it is surrounded by complete blackness. I made sure he started the motion before I clicked, then kept moving u tip after the shutter closed so we didn’t get hotspots.

    • November 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      Sounds like fun :) Love that your husband was so helpful.

  • Heidi
    November 20, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    I also heard in a Tamron seminar that you can use shutter speed to render people invisible. The teacher was in New York and taking a picture of a balcony garden between two buildings. At the far end, you could see a few skyscrapers. It had great symmetry and leading lines and color – and then she revealed that 30 people were walking in the frame. Because the landscape wasn’t moving, so set it for a 30 sec exposure and since the people were always in motion, they didn’t show up in the final shot. It was a cool idea for not letting tourists/lots of people ruin your shot.

  • November 21, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    Fantastic stuff! Another cool effect that is similar in result is panning. I love slowing down the shutter and following my son zooming by on his scooter or bike. It’s hard to nail it, but when you do, it really makes the speed and movement pop, because of the blurred lines of background sliding by.

  • Harriet Fiorino
    December 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM
  • admirable
    December 6, 2016 at 11:38 AM
  • Jack
    October 27, 2017 at 12:50 AM

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  • Maria
    June 28, 2018 at 7:44 AM

    So how do you choose these shutter speed numbers: The water 2.5 seconds, the cars 13 seconds, the light 6 seconds….

  • Cindi Diederichs
    January 19, 2019 at 9:53 PM

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