What’s shutter dragging?

Have you ever ever seen a photograph that has been taken in low gentle situations, the place the topic is sharp, however there are blurred lights within the background? It’s a favourite wedding ceremony dance ground shot. This impact is known as shutter dragging. You obtain it utilizing a mix of sluggish shutter pace and flash.

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On this article, we are going to check out the ins and outs of shutter dragging, from the tools you have to one of the best occasions to attempt it.

What’s shutter dragging?

Shutter dragging works by combining flash, which freezes your topic, with a sluggish shutter pace to seize movement blur. 

When you’re taking pictures in low gentle situations, a sluggish shutter pace permits extra gentle to succeed in the sensor to create an publicity. It additionally captures the motion of something within the body, which we name movement blur. Should you don’t use a tripod when taking lengthy publicity pictures, they are often blurred from camera-shake, too. With shutter dragging, you intentionally introduce digital camera shake or movement blur into the shot for inventive impact.

Shutter dragging is a two-step course of for every publicity. First, the flash freezes your topic within the body to make them sharp. Subsequent, you progress your digital camera whereas the shutter remains to be open to create gentle trails with background lights. It’s a terrific mixture of sharp and gentle.

An previous title for shutter dragging is “bake and shake”. The flash “bakes” the topic, or units within the body. The digital camera motion is the “shake” component.

When do I wish to use shutter dragging?

You’ll be able to drag the shutter in decrease gentle conditions while you wish to introduce a sense of motion or dynamism to a photograph. It may well create drama or a way of enjoyable.

We’ve got already talked about wedding ceremony dance flooring as a good time to attempt shutter dragging. However you should utilize it in a number of different conditions, too.

Sports activities or motion pictures

Dragging the shutter can assist to stress the motion of an athlete or the rest in movement in a photograph, for instance a bicycle or automobile.

Avenue pictures

It appears to be like very atmospheric while you use shutter dragging to {photograph} individuals or automobiles in opposition to metropolis lights.

Portrait pictures

You’ll be able to produce very inventive portraits utilizing shutter dragging. 

Evening pictures

Automobiles, stars, or something photographed at evening utilizing the shutter dragging method can look terrific.

What tools do I want for shutter dragging?

You don’t want a lot for shutter dragging:

  1. A digital camera with handbook taking pictures mode
  2. A speedlight
  3. A lens – prime is finest however not important.

Additionally, you will have to be taking pictures in low-light situations with apparent ambient gentle within the background.

Which digital camera settings are finest for shutter dragging?

Put your lens in autofocus mode. Set your digital camera to handbook mode. Your speedlight must be in TTL mode with entrance curtain sync. Entrance curtain sync ensures that your flash will hearth at first of your publicity. This makes it simpler to seize a pointy topic. You can begin to maneuver the digital camera after the flash has gone off.

Set your publicity for the background of your shot, not your topic. 


A smaller aperture will permit you to shoot with a slower shutter pace and preserve loads of your scene in focus. Begin with an aperture of ƒ/16. You’ll be able to widen it if you have to later.


It’s preferable to maintain your ISO as little as potential. If it’s too excessive, your picture can be noisy. The publicity triangle signifies that your ISO will depend upon the aperture and shutter pace you select, however begin with ISO 800.

Greatest Shutter pace for shutter dragging

A sluggish shutter pace is the important component of shutter dragging. A superb start line is between a half and one second. You’ll be able to all the time regulate this if you have to.

Tips on how to shutter drag

Topic placement is essential for good outcomes with shutter dragging. Your topic must be comparatively near your digital camera and flash. If the topic is just too removed from the flash, the flash won’t be able to freeze the topic clearly within the shot. The background and ambient lights needs to be comparatively far-off from the topic. If the flash hits the background, it may have a detrimental influence on the ultimate look.

Whenever you’re prepared, begin taking pictures! Whenever you launch the shutter, the flash ought to hearth, which can freeze your topic within the body. Now use the remainder of the publicity to maneuver your digital camera and create some gentle trails from the ambient lights within the background. You’ll be able to transfer your digital camera from side-to-side, up and down, and even rotate it. You’ll by no means obtain the identical end result twice, however preserve experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t.

Wrapping up

Shutter dragging is a whole lot of enjoyable, and would possibly even be slightly addictive. Should you’re utilizing it at a marriage or sporting occasion, just remember to seize loads of ‘common’ photographs, too. In any other case, go and experiment!

Suggestions and troubleshooting

Shutter dragging is all about experimentation. However, generally you would possibly get outcomes which might be disappointing, or don’t look proper. If that occurs to you, the following tips and concepts could be useful.

My gentle trails aren’t very lengthy

Should you assume that your gentle trails are too brief, you would possibly want to increase your shutter pace.

My photographs are a bit blurry and complicated

First, attempt utilizing a shorter shutter pace. In case your pictures are nonetheless too blurred, perhaps decrease your ISO slightly.

My topic is blown-out

Your flash might be a bit too highly effective. Attempt decreasing its energy output.

The sunshine trails are obscuring my topic

Dragging your digital camera throughout your topic can draw the sunshine trails over them. Attempt spinning or twisting your digital camera as a substitute.

Is shutter dragging good for various conditions?

The flash freezes your topic, which signifies that you retain the digital camera nonetheless however let movement that’s taking place within the background do the work. It could be visitors passing by, or a playground experience