Lets talk about shutter speed

As a beginner you should know some things about your device to improve your skills. Actually there are three things you should know about it: Shutter (speed), Aperture and ISO. All these three things you can sum up under one word: Exposure. So let’s consider the shutter speed and its effect on your photos.

The shutter itself is simply a door to let the light into the “box” where the sensor resides. From a pure mechanical perspective, shutter speed works pretty simple: The sensor catches the light and transforms it into pixels, so you can see your picture.

Thus, shutter speed is the duration of the time in which the shutter is opened. The longer it stays open, the more light gets to the sensor. The more light on the sensor, the brighter will your picture be. So as you see, the effect of shutter speed is also pretty easy to understand. But this is not the only effect of the shutter speed.

Since the sensor is exposed to the light for as long as the shutter is open, it records an image of the motif during that time. So now imagine what happens when you choose a more slowly shutter speed while you motif is moving? The result will be that you will get a blurred photo.

So the adjustment of the correct shutter speed is crucial to avoid blurry pictures. The faster the speed, the better is the result when you want to photograph moving subjects. For sports photography you need a really fast speed, about 1/4000 of a second to freeze the motion perfectly.

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The other side of the coin would be what I already mentioned: the more shutter speed the less light can “touch” the sensor. The less light, the darker your image would be. In this case you need to make sure you have enough bright environment around you. One of the possibilities how to bring more light into your camera, is to give more ISO. The other possibility is to widen your aperture. The third one is to use a tripod, for example if you would like to shoot motionless motifs.

But generally you should know following things about the shutter speed:

  • The faster the shutter speed, the better you can freeze the image. This is especially helpful when you want to photograph moving motifs.
  • The faster the shutter speed, the less light enters inside of your camera and it makes the image darker. So make sure to have enough light when you choose a fast shutter speed. How much light you need is difficult to determine. It depends on the size of the light sensor inside your camera and the individual conditions when you make photos.

Hence, shutter speed is only one technical factor which contributes to a composition and it should never be considered alone. In fact, it is an interplay between the shutter, aperture and the ISO. These three factors influence the result of your picture.

Okay folks, this was another slight insight into the photography basics. Please, be aware that if you want to make real good pictures and act like a pro in photography, you need to read some good books firstly. To start, I can recommend you the book “BetterPhoto Basics”* from Jim Miotke. Also, check my other articles about photography basics.

After your read this or another book, you need to practice as often as you can. Because the best book in the world can only impart the theory. But you can only achieve real good results when you are practice the theory.


 *Affiliate link: If you click on the link, no costs will arise for you. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small benefit from the supplier, which I would reinvest to keep this blog alive.

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