Intermediate With all the rules and laws for photography, it's a wonder who came up with them. Just like rules, some are made to be broken, with a creative influence, while others are better off being followed. The Reciprocal Rule is one that ought to be followed. It is a relatively simple rule once you wrap your head around it. What is means is that to be able to handhold your camera without any recognizable camera shake, and thus blurring, in the image, the shutter speed should be at least the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens you're using. Sounds complicated, but it's really not in when you apply it.
Here's the 1 to 1 breakdown: Let's say you're photographing a friend's portrait and you put on your 50mm lens, to apply the reciprocal rule, you would need a minimum shutter speed of 1/50th sec to capture a tack-sharp image. Now let's say you're photographing the same friend's kids playing in a sandbox. You don't want to get too close, thereby distracting them, so you attach your 70-200mm telephoto lens. Applying the same rule, you would need to shoot at a minimum of 1/70th sec at 70mm and 1/200th sec if you're zoomed in at 200mm.
If you follow the Reciprocal Rule, there will most definitely be times when you will need to bump up the shutter speed to meet the "requirements" in order to have that sharp image.
There are best 3 ways to increase your shutter speed, and they all have pros and cons:
Open up the Aperture
An open aperture allows more light in, which lets you increase your shutter speed. As such, a small f-stop has a wider aperture opening, resulting in a shallow depth of field. Whereas a larger f-stop has a smaller aperture and a greater depth of field. So, keeping this in mind when you're playing with shutter speeds will help you determine how far you to with your f-stop in order to achieve the depth of field you want. It's all about balancing the shutter speed and aperture to achieve the best results. That's why it's a good thing that we have other methods for raising shutter speeds if we don't want to go low on the f-stop.
Increase the ISO Setting
Most people think to increase the ISO in low light situations, but there are times in brighter situations where you still may need to do so in order to match your focal length with your shutter speed. Keeping in mind that the higher the ISO, the grainier your image will be is the best guide for using this tweaking. If you can keep it at 400 ISO or less, you won't be faced with as much noise in your images. However, sometimes that is exactly the results you want. It will come down to your creative genius to determine if a higher ISO is the best way to go to allow for that faster shutter speed.
Use a Flash
Bright lights! A flash probably has the most impact on results when used to increase shutter speed. There are times when a flash makes all the difference, like a fill-flash to fill in unwanted shadows on faces, but there are also times when you really just want the softer lighting and might opt for changing your aperture or ISO instead.
One last note: you shouldn't rely on your camera's LCD preview to determine an image's sharpness, unless it's completely obvious. The LCDs are a tool to use as a preview screen, but later when you're at home uploading your images, the results are often a bit different and any signs of image shake will be more apparent.
The Reciprocal Rule is a handy guide and an easy ‘rule’ to follow compared to some of the other photography ones. Since with photography we are allowed to break the rules, this is one that can be broken, but better to follow it!
Most people think this post is Awesome. What do you think?