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04-10-2015, 10:33 AM   #1
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Slowest Shutter Speed for People/Portraits?

What is the slowest shutter speed you guys recommend for people/portraits? Assume there's no flash or other studio lighting available (impromptu photos inside, for instance). I've noticed what I think is a little bit of motion blur at 1/50 or 1/60 (but I'm not sure if it's miss-focus + shallow DoF), so I'm thinking this is just slightly too slow. Thoughts?

04-10-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
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That depends on the people. Children don't hold still so for them, flash is good.
Historically, portraiture required very long exposure times, hence the imobilizing devices that were used 100+ yrs ago.
If you're using a tripod and have an appropriate subject, you can get good portraits as slow as 1/4 second.


And if you're *not* using a tripod, you should be.

Last edited by johnyates; 04-10-2015 at 12:18 PM.
04-10-2015, 11:12 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
What is the slowest shutter speed you guys recommend for people/portraits? Assume there's no flash or other studio lighting available (impromptu photos inside, for instance). I've noticed what I think is a little bit of motion blur at 1/50 or 1/60 (but I'm not sure if it's miss-focus + shallow DoF), so I'm thinking this is just slightly too slow. Thoughts?
For weddings, I use a flash but keep my shutter around 1/100 to avoid any motion blur. If someone is running or something, they are gonna blur, but its typically a pretty safe shutter.
04-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
Slowest Shutter Speed for People/Portraits?
For reliable handheld shots about 125th at least for me.

04-10-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
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Part of this is, are the subject cooperating. If so, longer times are OK. Shorter if you are trying to catch people in the middle of action or people who do not want their pictures taken.
04-10-2015, 03:09 PM   #6
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f/2.8-f/5.6, 1/100 to 1/250, iso 100-400 is pretty much what I use depending upon light conditions and how much moving my subject is going to be doing. Studio, giid lighting, still subject, a lot of the time it's f4.5 or thereabouts, iso 100-200, 1/100 or so. I rarely have to change that with the setup I have. But going outdoors, into a room with dimmer light, moving subjects, things can vary a lot.
04-10-2015, 03:24 PM   #7
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The subjects were cooperating but generally holding strange, unnatural poses (trying to look like characters).

Thanks, guys! I was worried that I had calibrated Sigma not quite right, but I was seeing only slight uniform blur, mostly in the 1/60 shots (and some in the 1/80 shots). I definitely got just a bit too greedy there. I'll stick with 1/100 next time, try 1/125 if possible.
04-10-2015, 11:12 PM   #8
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Was that the cosplay series another member put up recently. Nicely done, and I would regard them as cooperative. uncooperative is the situation of trying to get candids of people who are liable to jump away or jerk when they see the camera pointed in their general direction.

04-11-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tim60 Quote
Was that the cosplay series another member put up recently. Nicely done, and I would regard them as cooperative. uncooperative is the situation of trying to get candids of people who are liable to jump away or jerk when they see the camera pointed in their general direction.
Yes, cosplay series and I was the member who put it up. I can see some very slight blur in some photos. It seems most common in the 1/60 and 1/50 indoor shots. I also think I didn't give SR enough time to settle when I recomposed, leading to very slight blur in some shots.

And thank you for the compliment!
04-12-2015, 07:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
That depends on the people. Children don't hold still so for them, flash is good.
Historically, portraiture required very long exposure times, hence the imobilizing devices that were used 100+ yrs ago.
If you're using a tripod and have an appropriate subject, you can get good portraits as slow as 1/4 second.


And if you're *not* using a tripod, you should be.
I like to take pictures of my kids in action and they vibrate like hummingbirds and bees. A shutter speed of 1/1000 or faster is a must in that case. However, even if I ask them to freeze for a quick shot they will still wobble a bit. If I focus on their eyes only the nose will be in focus because they leaned back slightly. So, not only do I need a fast shutter speed to catch the action but I need it to catch the focus - or what's left of the focus if its too late. Closing my aperture down to f/7.1 - f/9 helps in this case but I know that's pretty severe.

However, not all is doom and gloom. There are days when I can get wonderful shots of the kids with my FA 77 in broad daylight with a wider aperture where I can resolve eyelashes!
04-12-2015, 11:31 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
And if you're *not* using a tripod, you should be.
That would be ideal but for the scenario in which I was shooting, a tripod is a bit unfeasible. Too much congestion, too long to set up and move shot to shot, etc. It was more like a fashion shoot; I'm pretty sure they don't use tripods because they're trying to capture a dynamic range of poses.
04-28-2015, 05:38 PM   #12
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I just shot a bunch of high school kids at a floor hockey tournament. Started around 1/80 to 1/100, but did better at 1/125. Some blur at times, but any faster and I'd have to push past ISO 1000 which I didn't want to do. Maybe a bad call on my part as less blur might have led to better shots even with more noise.
04-29-2015, 12:41 PM   #13
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In my experience, if you do not let the SR settle before taking the shot, the results will be worse than if you had not used SR at all. Always something to keep in mind.
04-30-2015, 03:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
let the SR settle before taking the shot
do you know how long that is?
04-30-2015, 05:41 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by beachgardener Quote
do you know how long that is?
An indicator of SR engaged and ready appears n the viewfinder - look for a symbol of hand which changes as soon as you hold the shutter button half pressed.
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