All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

Photographic Techniques by Chris Brooks

Aperture or Shutter Speed Priority


Aperture or Shutter Speed Priority

This narrative follows on from the previous one on the Depth of Field, therefore please refer to that page initially before reading on.

This narrative in written on the pretext that my images are almost exclusively taken in hand held mode without the assistance of any camera support attachment, be it a tripod or monopod. However the use of a handy knee cannot be ruled out at times.

To obtain sharp images of dragonflies or damselflies where the subject is totally in focus you will have to maximise your depth of field. This can be done by using one or more of the following methods.

A Digital SLR with a 1.6 crop factor will give a greater potential depth of field than a full frame model. I therefore prefer to use the Nikon D300 over the full framed model.


A higher ISO speed will increase the depth of field; however it will also increase the noise in the image. I use an ISO setting of 400 which seems acceptable.

Good natural lighting will also increase the depth of field as you will be able to use a lower shutter speed so enabling the use of a higher aperture setting, for instance F8 to F12. The higher the "F" number the greater and wider the depth of field will be. Some compromise may have to made, if you use too higher F number the background may also be in focus which detracts from your main subject matter.

I prefer hand held photography, therefore fixing a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, you tend to get a fairly high aperture setting, particularly in good light. This gives you maximum depth of field, maybe one to two centimetres at the very best.

Alternatively you can set the aperture at F10 to give a wide depth of field; however in low light conditions the shutter speed will be so low that hand held photography will no longer be possible and you may have to resort to some kind of camera support.

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