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Photography 101: What is Shutter Speed?

In photography there are three important camera settings that you will need to understand to elevate your photos, these are ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Shutter speed is responsible for two things: changing the brightness of your photo and creating dramatic action shots by either freezing or blurring motion. In this article, we are going to find out exactly what shutter speed is and how to you can use it to take better photos.

What is shutter speed?

Shutter speed is how long your shutter blades are open for, this means how long the sensor is exposed to light. More simply, it means how long it takes your camera to take a photo. Using different speeds can vastly alter how your photo will look.

Using the fast shutter speed will allow you to take photos that freeze movement. When using a fast shutter speed you can capture dramatic scenes like a car speeding down the road or a cheetah chasing its prey without any motion blur.

A fast shutter speed is also recommended when taking scenic photos as it can capture amazing images of water. It can capture every ripple and droplet, movements that are often missed by the human eye.

Fast shutter speeds will also help you shoot handheld in low light.

When using a slow shutter speed, you will be exposing your camera to the light for longer which allows you to capture the movement differently. The biggest difference is that your photos will look blurred along the direction of the movement. This is called motion blur.

Slow shutter speeds are often used during the Olympics as you are able to capture the urgency and movements of its competitors. Slow shutter speeds are also a favourite for landscape photographers as you are able to capture the movements in nature. You can take sharp photos of rivers, waterfalls and mountainscapes whilst capturing the motion of running water.

It is recommended to always use a tripod is doing slow and long shutter work so you can still achieve sharp images.

How to Set Shutter Speed

Most cameras handle shutter speeds automatically by default. When the camera is set to “Auto” mode, the shutter speed is selected by the camera without you doing anything.

However, you can set the shutter speed manually if you’d like: By setting the camera to “Shutter Priority” mode. Where you choose the shutter speed, and the camera automatically selects the aperture. By setting the camera to “Manual” mode. Where you choose both shutter speed and aperture manually.

We do recommend letting the camera select the correct shutter speed for you.

I hope we have answered your questions about what shutter speed is, but if we haven’t please get in touch. Our expert team are photography mad and will happily answer any questions you may have!

by Harrison Cameras on 04/12/2020

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