Use Shutter Speeds Creatively to Capture Unique Landscape Photos (VIDEO)

Shutter speed is one of the three elements that combine to achieve a proper exposure, the other two being aperture and ISO. But unless you shoot in Manual mode, it's likely that you use Aperture Priority—thereby leaving it up to the camera to choose an appropriate shutter speed.

There are times, however, when Shutter Priority can be a big help, like when photographing fast-moving subjects or when you want to create a unique look. This comprehensive tutorial is devoted to the latter, with a bunch of examples and suggestions on the best shutter speeds to use for creating dynamic images in different situations.

Instructor Mads Peter Iversen is a professional landscape photographer based in Denmark, and a very popular educator. He begins this episode with a brief discussion of the concept of shutter speed, and how this single setting will dramatically impact an image. Simply put, "Shutter speed describes how long the camera's shutter is open and the sensor is exposed to light." Hence, all things remaining equal, the longer the shutter is open the more light the camera collects—resulting in a bright photo."

Shutter speeds are often displayed in factions of a second, like 1/30, 1/60 1/125, 1/500, etc. because we often use exposure times that are less than one second—all the way up to 1/4000 which is typically the fastest setting that most cameras provide. That's why it's often necessary to modify ISO or aperture to arrive at a proper exposure for the task at hand.

The fun and creativity begin with techniques like accentuating motion blur, instead of using a shutter speed that's fast enough to freeze action. A slow shutter speed, for example, is effective for creating cotton-like clouds moving across the sky, or glass-like water in ponds, streams, and lakes.

There are a variety of other interesting effects that occur when using slower-than-normal exposure times, like light trails emanating from passing cars, action shots that convey a blurry sense of motion, and when employing a technique known as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) to create otherworldly photos.

Conversely, super-fast shutter speeds enable you to create other types of photographs that are equally compelling, but with a totally different look. Iversen spends 20 minutes demonstrating a variety of eye-catching techniques, and by the time the video concludes your photography may never be the same.

There's much more to learn on Iversen's very popular YouTube channel, particularly with regard to shooting in the field, so be sure to check it out when you have time to explore.

And speaking of unique imagery, don't miss the recent tutorial we featured with another accomplished pro who demonstrates how to capture travel and landscape photographs that stand out from the crowd.