Do you sometimes download your photographs and find a surprise or two? Photographs taken on the same day look completely different. What happened? Before you beat yourself up for getting something ‘wrong’, check your photo’s settings.
Settings Make a Big Difference
Like everyone who loves to capture great photos of their pet, I want to explore my limits, and increase my skills. I spend a lot of time adjusting settings like Sport mode, close-ups, and semi automatic settings like Av (A) and Tv (shutter priority) so see the difference these make.
I can show you how one setting change transformed a black cat at my local cat cafe. I know you will love seeing a black cat selfie joining the Kitties Blue so check this guy out.
A Shutter Speed Transformation
This is Saxon, a handsome black cat from Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe in Petone, New Zealand. He is sleek and shiny, and when he appears turns heads in the cafe.
Camera settings: ISO 3200 50mm lens F2.8 Shutter speed 1/25
Saxon looks almost brown in this first photograph, so I set out to discover why it is so different from the photograph below.
In this second picture Saxon looks more like a real black cat. His fur is dark, his eyes are bright and I only lightened the exposure slightly.
Camera Settings: ISO 3200 50mm lens F1.8 Shutter speed 1/250
What is the Difference?
If you look at the shutter speed for both photographs, you will see this:
- ISO 3200 50mm lens F2.8 Shutter speed 1/25 (slow shutter speed)
- ISO 3200 50mm lens F1.8 Shutter speed 1/250 (faster shutter speed)
The shutter speed on the photograph that shows Saxon’s fur as dark and sharp is fast – 1/250th of a second. A real shutter speed transformation. The speed is a lot faster than in the first picture. This is only 1/25th of a second. There is only the smallest F-stop adjustment.
If you struggle at understanding shutter speed this short definition from Expert Photography explains it really well without going into too much technical detail:
“Shutter speed is how fast or slow the film or sensor captures light. A longer (slower) shutter speed allows the lens to record more light over a longer period of time. A shorter (faster) shutter speed records available light in a split second. The shutter speed shows as fractions of a second.“
Never Give Up On a Picture
Oh, and no, I didn’t give up on the first photograph, I am still exploring its potential. Here is Saxon in a cool adjusted black and white!
Even with a quick change in Affinity Photo and no other adjustments he is so cute!
Have you been surprised by a photo you took? Let me know in the comments!
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.