As you learn more about your DSLR camera, photography in general, and the many facets of the art, you’re probably noticing more and more accessories that the professionals around you are using.

Many photographers are looking for a certain something. Something that will really get their photos up to par for their clients. When it comes to the camera shutter, you’ve found your best friend. With all the new technology we have available, being able to capture the details of photos is the number one most important thing you can do in a shoot.

It is no longer about just capturing the people in your photos, but now all the little details matter. Nature, props, all of it needs to be sharp and in focus. Good camera shutters make this possible. There are a variety of things that go into using shutter properly, so it is a good idea to read up on all the details below if you are trying to get the most out of your camera shutter. This is an accessory that is worth the investment, though it’s cheap.

It’s one of the key accessories every photographer should consider having in his camera toolkit is a shutter release.

What is a Camera Shutter?

A camera shutter is the part of the camera that allows light through to the mirrors, lenses, or prisms of the inner workings of a camera, for a determined amount of time.

Without the shutter, images could not be captured by cameras, and light, instead, would infiltrate the lenses and would result in blank media.

If you’ve ever seen an older photo with “light leak” streaks of white or nearly white across them, you can identify these as being taken by cameras with faulty or damaged shutters.

How Does a Camera Shutter Work?

A timing mechanism determines how long a shutter remains opened while taking a photograph. The period of time during which the shutter is open is referred to as the exposure time.

The length of the exposure time will determine a number of things in a photograph.

Long exposure time is opened and closed by hand, or by a mechanism designed to lengthen the exposure time. A device for elongating the exposure time is often referred to as a shutter release.

A shutter release allows the photographer to take photos in a number of circumstances where physically pushing the butter on a camera to open and close the shutter might destroy the image being captured.

Some examples include:

  • Shooting multiple exposures
  • Shooting macro photos – like the hearts of flowers
  • Shooting with a telephoto lens
  • Shooting dangerous subjects – like large, wild animals in the jungle
  • Shooting timid subjects – like rabbits in the woods
  • Shooting in low light
  • Shooting images in which you wish to allude to movement – like car lights as streaks on a highway
  • Shooting to capture momentary bursts of light – like fireworks
  • Shooting HDR images – high dynamic range images

What is a Remote Shutter Release?

A remote shutter release allows the photographer to trigger the shutter release from a distance. There are two primary ways in which this can be done.

Tethered or Wired Release

A wired shutter release is physically tethered to the camera and allows the photographer only a certain distance, not usually as significant as untethered release. If you’ve ever seen a film with an old time photographer pushing a button on a cord to take a photo, this is a tethered release.

Tethered releases can come in electronic form as well as non-electronic.

Untethered or Non-Wired Release

A remote shutter release button allows the photographer to open and close a camera shutter from a greater distance than a tethered release. These are handy for various circumstances, especially where someone might trip over the tethered release.

How to Use a Camera Shutter Release

1. Connect Your Shutter Release to Your Camera

When you get your shutter release that’s compatible with your camera, you’ll need to connect it to your camera.

As a photographer, anything that can make your photos more beautiful for your clients is essential. But the best part of shutters is that it captures the most detail. The detail is the key to any photograph you take. Years ago, photos were blurry, and the focus was mainly to capture faces.

Nowadays, technology has advanced so much that the importance of exquisite and sharp detail is valued. That means all the props such as nature or scenery need the perfection of a proper shutter release.

You will see later on in this article that the shutter release makes the job of a photographer better and simpler, so you can imagine this is an important topic, no matter where you are in this photography journey. Find out all the details that go along with this feature, how to get your hands on it, and how to do it very well.

Read the instructions thoroughly for your specific release model. The instructions should tell you every step required.

If, however, it does not, look online for specific instructions from the manufacturer. If that doesn’t work, find a forum like Quora where you can ask professionals and other users who have connected the same model to their own cameras.

2. Test Out Your Shutter Release

Once you’ve attached your shutter release and put any batteries into the remote that are needed, try taking your camera out for a test run. Find a subject of interest that could be improved with a non-hand-held shot, like a squirrel in the trees, the kids playing in the backyard, or snow falling on the lawn.

Be sure your tripod is securely standing, then use any weather protective gear you need to for your camera. Then, start shooting.

3. Shoot Some Comparative Photos

Use the shutter button on your remote or tethered shutter release to see how the different settings effect the shutter release and speed.

Now, try shooting some of the same basic photos as hand-held shots, without the shutter release engaged.

4. View the Photos

After you’ve taken some photos both with the shutter release and without, take them to your computer to view and compare.

With a split screen, view a photo from each set side by side to see the difference in clarity. Zoom in to look for pixelization and definition. This should help you to see which settings work best for your photography projects in the future.

The Shutter Release: A Photographer’s Best Friend

Now that you know what a shutter release is, and how to use it, you’re all set for benefiting from one of the most effective and inexpensive camera accessories. Your photos should drastically improve, your options for the photos you can take increase, and your creativity grow.

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