drag the shutter, do you use it ?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by fwellers, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone use Scott Kelby's drag the shutter technique ? I tried it out today on some play shots in the house, and it seems to work !
    The way I understand it, in case you're using off camera flash, in a dark room, the backround will be too dark in one of the auto modes.

    So, the technique is, set up the shot in say AP mode, get the numbers for shutter and aperture.
    Move to manual mode, and plug those numbers in.
    Then take the shot in manual mode, with the same flash. This makes the backround get more exposure due to the slower shutter speed. It may be a little blurry, but it's just the backround. The subject doesn't expose except for the instant that the flash works.

    I tried it one way, just normal wireless commander mode, flash to the side, ap mode, shutter speed was 1.3. The wall behind the subject was dark, but the subject ( my tv ) was lit up.
    Then I turned to manual mode, everything else the same, set the shutter to 1.3 seconds. This time, the wall was lit up nicely.

    I'm so new at this, I don't know if I'm understanding it right, or even doing it right to get the results I explained, but it seems to be a neat trick.
     
  2. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No that is wrong if you use the same settings you should get the same shot you have to use a slower shutter speed or bigger aperture to let more ambient light in
     
  3. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Yea but I think because of the flash being on, and being in ap mode, the camera ignores the shutter speed setting.
    I know when I tried it, it was a very quick shot. Then when I applied the same shutter speed ( 1.3 ) in manual mode, it actually took 1.3 seconds, but the flash didn't come on until the very last instant.
     
  4. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    Yeah that's basically right, and if it's working for you then it's good, right? You can try speeding up the shutter to get some ambient light but not as much, that often looks nicer.
     
  5. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Whatever you think, but when you don't have enough light, hit it with more speed lights!!!!
     
  6. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, I have not heard about this "drag the shutter" term ... but here is my two cents:

    Shutter speed controls ambient light exposure.
    Aperture controls flash exposure.

    here is rough brief:

    If auto says ... 1/125s @ f8
    if you drop shutter speed to 1/60s ... then you will get more exposure on the subject that is not illuminated by the flash.
    since you did not change the aperture ... the subject illuminated by the flash will have the same exposure level.
     
  7. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ...and set your flash to rear curtain, or second curtain, so it fires at the end of the exposure, rather than the beginning.

    In pretty dark situations, so I almost always drag the shutter at least a little, It gives a much better balance, especially when I want to see the subject within the context of a particular place or setting.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Aperture + light can control the DOF of the light in a scene... and I can then play with the shutter time to decrease or increase the ambient. Dragging the shutter is a fancy way of saying increase the time the shutter is open past the time the flash fired so that the areas where the flash did not reach are better lit.

    Do I do it? When I need to. Like everything else, it is a tool, and I don't use a hammer when I need a saw.

    Dragging the shutter has it's limitations (too much shutter time and you start to get motion blur). I prefer to use a lower light power setting and crank up the ISO to increase light sensitivity for the scene overall. Does the same thing, but lets me use faster shutter speeds.
     
  9. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    great mix of replies. I'm beginning to see the light, er I mean the flash. haha.
     

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