The New York Institute of Photography is one of the world’s largest photography schools and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips on our photography blog. Please enjoy!
If you want consistently sharp photos, the slowest shutter speed you should ever hand-hold the camera at is 1/125 (pronounced one, one twenty fifth of a second). Anything slower and the likelihood of camera shake increases dramatically. While features like vibration reduction and image stabilization offer some flexibility here, it’s wise not to push your luck with slower exposure times. This becomes even more critical should you decide to print your favorite images. Even with a steady hand, tiny mistakes become large problems upon enlargement. Besides preventing camera movement, 1/125 is also suitable for freezing slow moving subjects like a portrait.
Photographing children at play and other agile subjects is notoriously challenging, even for those with years of experience. There is a specific shutter speed setting however that can greatly improve your results. At 1/250, you can stop motion and create crisp photos of memorable moments. In low light situations, change the ISO to 400, 800, or even 1600. By raising the ISO you’ll enjoy a better overall exposure while retaining the fast exposure time.