Shutter Speed TutorialThis introductory tutorial explains the basics of shutter speed.


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Shutter Speed

Posted on 2nd April, 2016

The shutter speed is responsible for blurring and freezing moving subjects in the picture.


It is the amount of time the shutter is open. It is also one part of the Exposure Triangle (see tutorial).


On some cameras, the shutter speed can be adjusted.


Slow shutter speeds can be as slow as 30 seconds (noted as 30" on the camera) or even slower, and fast shutter speeds can be 1/1000th of a second or faster (noted as 1/1000 on the camera).


Runner - bluuredIf the camera is still and a person, for example, runs from left to right in the picture with a slow shutter speed being used such as 1/25, they will be blurred but the background sharp, because the camera is recording the runner for a long time before the shutter closes.






Runner - blurred backgroundIf you pan from left to right with the runner using a slow shutter speed, then the runner would be sharp but the background would be blurred. This would be good to give a sense of speed.







Runner - frozenIf the camera is still and the runner was photographed with a very fast shutter speed such as 1/500 or faster, then they would be perfectly sharp as the camera is only recording the runner for a short fraction of a second.







Shutter speed guideThis infographic summarises shutter speed effect on your picture.













Some cameras enable you to make very long exposures. In order for you to get sharp shots this way, you need to keep the camera absolutely still during the exposure by using a tripod, or by putting the camera on a hard, steady surface like a wall. By using either a cable or remote release on a special shutter speed setting called 'B', this setting will keep the shutter open for as long as you depress the shutter release (or remote release). If you don't have any kind of remote release, you can use your camera's self timer instead. Set the self timer, squeeze the shutter release and stand clear of the camera.


Some cameras and lenses have a vibration reduction control. If you use a tripod, turn this setting off, as not doing so could induce movement in the shot by the way it stabilises the image.