Mastering the basics in photography, like shutter speed and aperture, can change your photos completely. Whether you are a beginner with a DSLR, a “photographer” finally getting into cameras with removable lenses, or someone just trying to figure a camera out, this post is for you. Today we are going to talk about shutter speed.
When I first started learning photography, the techie terms went right over my head. Now, 7 years later, the techie terms are what keep me afloat and allow my photography to grow.
If you missed our first part of the photography 101 series, you can find it here, Aperture Basics: 7 Things to Know
What is shutter speed?
Shutter speed gives you control of the motion in your photos. It can freeze dripping water or show the blur of a kid running by.
It changes if your photo with have a sharp or blurry focus. Shutter speed determines how long your shutter will be open. The longer it is open, the more light it lets in, and this will make your photos brighter. If left open too long, it will make your photos washed out.
Vice versa, the less time your shutter is open, the less light it lets in and the darker your photos are.
The shutter on your camera is essentially a curtain. Yeah, think of curtains. When you press the button to take a picture-the shutter button-you are opening the curtains.
How is shutter speed measured?
Shutter speed is a length of time, so it is measured in seconds. Hang in there with me, you are going to get a lot of numbers thrown at you in a second.
On my camera, I can change the shutter speed from 30 seconds- written as 30″, to 1/4000th of a second.
Here is a cheat sheet to help your remember the types of things to photograph with each shutter speed. If you want a printable version, click here.
As mentioned in this sheet, you shouldn’t really shoot longer than 1/60 while handholding because your photos will all be really blurry.
Here is a photo I took with a shutter speed of 1/125. It’s bright and isn’t blurry at all.
And this is a photo I took with a longer shutter speed. I took this capture for 20 seconds.
Pretty cool, right? Shutter speed is the second of three in the exposure triangle, keep an eye out for the third, ISO!
As always, knowing these techie terms are important, but practicing is always needed to improve!
Comment below with any questions you have!