What does “shutter speed” mean in photography?

 

For day three in the “Creative Christmas” video series, we’re going to move round to the back of your camera and cover the first of the three major settings which you have control over and that’s the shutter speed.

First things first, let’s get the camera off automatic mode and see what changing the shutter speed does to your photograph.

Understanding how to use your shutter speed means the difference between taking a blurry photo and a sharp photo and is one of the three elements which affect your exposure. We’ll cover the other two – ISO and aperture – over the next few days, so tune back in for those.

Shutter speed refers to the amount of time the shutter stays open to let light onto the sensor, so when you press the shutter and your shutter speed is set at 100th of a second, the shutter will stay open for 100th of a second or 0.01 of a second.

This can be used for creative purposes as well as getting a technically correct image. If you are shooting a sporting event then you probably want your subjects to be pin sharp, so you will have to use a fast shutter speed, for example, a 500th of a second.

On the opposite end of the scale, if you’re shooting a waterfall you may want the water to appear like fog rolling down. This is achieved by using a longer shutter speed to allow the sensor to record more of the light.

You may have already guessed, but if you let less light in then your image is obviously going to get dark and if you let more light in then it’s going to get lighter. Check back over the next couple of days to learn how to use the other two elements of ISO and aperture to create the perfect exposure.

Thanks for watching and hopefully this short video has given you a better understanding of how to use your camera’s shutter speed. If this is your first time watching, then please be sure to either subscribe to our youtube channel or on the blog to get all the newest content first here and you’ll receive all our videos directly to your inbox.

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