Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: How Slow Can You Go - Shooting The Very Slow Shutter Speed - Handheld

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, it just wasn't in the stars to get Technique Tuesday up yesterday. We made the mad dash from San Francisco to Sacramento, got started late on the room set up because of a meeting in process when we arrived, and barely had time to get the room set before over 200 of our Digital WakeUp Call guests started to arrive. No problem - we'll just post it today.

This, by the way is the day we visit Google - actually, in just a few hours. I'll give you the low down tomorrow. I can't wait! Anyway, let's get on with yesterday's Technique Tuesday...

How Slow Can You Go? Shooting The Very Slow Shutter Speed - Handheld
During my seminars, I show many images where I use very slow shutter speeds for example; 1/10 second to obtain the shot (I never carry a tripod to a wedding) and everyone is surprised by how I am able to pull this somewhat easy task off. In this tutorial I'll reveal my secrets. Well, not really secrets, just good technique.

And the technique has to be good to pull off the shutter speeds I'm demonstrating on this video. I made all the images at 1/4 second and slower - all hand-held. I needed the slow shutter speed to blur the motion of the flowing water which really added a sense of beauty and in some cases power to the finished photographs. Instead of me talking about it, why not hit the PLAY button below and see what I was up too. I hope you enjoy the video.

Hey gang, that's it for today. I'll get back on the regular schedule once we can sneak a few more minutes in the day. I'll plan to run our next post on "Portraits - Booking, Shooting, and Selling" tomorrow. It's sort of business related so it works for tomorrow. Enjoy the tutorial today and I'll see everybody sometime tomorrow. Hope to see some friendly faces tonight in San Jose. We're are off Goggling this morning, -David


  1. Nice David. That's impressive that you;re getting that good of results handheld.

    Still wouldn't it be prudent to at least carry something little like a Gorillapod. Surely some stead support would give you that much more clarity for those large viewings? Besides the you could play with HDR, which is like Highlight tone on steroids ;)

    Great video. Keep em coming... Gav

  2. David, thanks for sharing this technique.

    I had a couple of situations by myself when I needed to try to handheld at these low shutter speeds. The biathlon sport from wintertime came to my mind. There the athletes need to calm their puls from skiing within a very short time to keep their gun still enough to get the target. A similar technique that is, I suppose.

    Keep on going! Enjoying your blog.

  3. love the shot of the falls with the bridge and golden light

    PS your out in the outdoors and you still have a jacket on?

  4. Hi David. I really enjoyed your SF DWC seminar!

    I notice you wear glasses. How did that affect pressing the camera up to your forehead when shooting slow shutter speeds?

  5. David,

    Great photos/presentation! Being in the NW (Seattle area) I can certainly appreciate this.

    Simple question for you - What do you use for your video editing software?


  6. David and LaDawn Ziser,
    Thank you for allowing me to help you out while you were in San Jose. It was really nice getting to spent some time with the group after the event. Best of luck as you continue your tour. If you are in need of a full time assistant to do all the driving, set up, organize the volunteer's, break down and load/unload the vehicle for you both. I am a phone call away. Able to travel anywhere you need. Just a little FYI if the need should arise.

    Thank you,

    Phillip Railey

  7. This was really helpful for my upcoming photo shoot at a waterfall in Jamaica! Let's see how steady I can go as I don't have IS. I have the Canon 24-70 2.8. Do you think that could work?

    Thanks :-)


  8. I am surprised- the more I follow your blog, the more I enjoy it! Thanks for a great tutorials, and for the once in the while talking about different kinds of photography.

  9. David,
    Thanks for sharing!

    Just some quick questions for you:
    1. Where are you setting focus in the frame? Are you using AF or Manual focus?

    2. Are you shooting Av or M mode?

    Just curious...

  10. Hi David,

    just stunning results from handheld.

    Any chance of you doing another live shoot (wedding or any other),so we can see you in action.

    Those of us who are on an extremely small budget or even no budget at all (like myself where I'm an Australian living in Germany with my wife),we really can't thank you enough for posting some amazing tips & techniques.
    Until I can afford it,I rely totally on tutorials & "live" shoots to get more info than possible misunderstanding advice while reading it.

    Huge thanks & kind regards