Jul 23, 2010

Photography Tutorial: Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is defined as the amount of time the shutter is open. The shorter amount of time the faster the shutter and the longer amount of time the slower the shutter. 

It's measured in seconds. When you get into the fractions of a second you are getting a faster shutter speed and less light. 

1/1000 <----- faster      <-------less light  <----freezes motion, more detail
1/100 about midway. I would use a tripod for anything slower than this.
1 second
1.5 second
2 seconds
2.5 seconds  <----- slower   <-------- more light <------ captures motion, motion will be blurred

  • If you are taking pictures of your child's sports game you will want a faster shutter speed. To be able to capture the details and freeze motion.
  • If you are indoors and need more light to capture a photo you could try a slower shutter speed and wider aperture (smaller number),  with hopes of keeping the ISO down.
The following had a shutter speed of 1/160 (shows up 160 when adjusting shutter speed)





The following had a shutter speed of 1/25 of a second. 




Because of the slower shutter speed we captured motion instead of freezing it.

Hubby and I were having some fun with the shutter speed the other night.  We used a flashlight and the shutter speed was set on 2.5 seconds.




The Exposure Triangle

We've now discussed all three elements of the exposure triangle. If you change one part of it, it will impact the others. All three work together to achieve the correct exposure.

Check out the other tutorials! Try shooting in manual!  Another tutorial will be coming next week.


  1. Great post. Right now I shoot mostly in Aperture Priority mode, occasionally I shoot in Manual to practice. I really need to practice more! Sometimes I find that my camera doesn't get it right in AV mode so I switch to M then. That should be an indicator to me that I need to shoot in M all the time. :)
    I love how your camera has the display on top.

  2. Thank you for this post! It was very informative. I do have a question - I wanted to test a very fast shutter speed, so I set it to the highest my camera would let me, 1/4000. The photo came out all dark. Do I need to adjust the ISO/Aperture? Thanks :)

  3. You did a brilliant job explaining shutterspeed. It took me forever to get shutterspeed, aperature, and exposure compensation.

  4. What I love the most about these explanations is that they are so easy to understand! Love the I heart U!

  5. Thank You Monica for such a wonderful Post! i learn something new every day.

  6. I had a ton of fun when I tried the flashlight thing too! I recommend everyone try it at least once!

  7. I love this - I just have a hard time keeping it straight in my mind - I have to practice...lots.

  8. You definitely have a gift for teaching! I stumbled upon your blog on blogfrog today and our tagline is so similar (to my blog!) congrats on your 2nd pregnancy, i just had a baby boy july 6th!

  9. Hi Monica,

    I just recently received my first DSLR for Christmas and I am slowly learning. I love taking pictures of my son during his hockey games however I am not having great luck. I tried using the sports mode but I got alot of blurred pictures. If I up my shutter speed it sounds like that will help. Also wondering though when i used my auto the pictures came out dark and not super clear. Hmmm any ideas? Thanks so much. Janice

  10. Amazing shutter speed pics, great job!!!


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