What is Shutter Speed in Photography?


A photograph is a reflection of creativity. The quality of a picture depends on a variety of things, and the camera shutter speed is one of them. Some pictures require a fast shutter speed and some require a slow shutter speed. 

A longer exposure time can be obtained by using a slower shutter speed. In addition to increasing the amount of available light, this also has the effect of blurring any fast-moving objects. On the other hand, fast shutter speeds capture fast-moving objects such as vehicles and animals.

But, this little piece of information is not enough to understand the whole thing about shutter speed. So, in this article, we will discuss what is shutter speed in photography, in detail.

What Actually The Shutter Speed Is?


The shutter speed controls how long the shutter is open, and therefore how much light reaches the camera’s image sensor. In other words, we can say, when taking a picture, the shutter is open for a specific amount of time, and this duration is known as the shutter speed. 

The shutter speed of a camera decides how long an image is preserved. This will have a number of visible effects on the appearance of your images.

When you use a “long” or “slow” shutter speed, the sensor is exposed to light for an unusually long amount of time. One of the most significant effects is a blurring of movement. Using a slow shutter speed will cause motion blur in the direction of motion while photographing moving subjects. 

Motion Blur- Source: https://beginnersapproach.com/davinci-resolve-add-motion-blur/

By blurring the wheels in motion, this effect is often used in ads for cars and motorcycles to show speed and acceleration.

Check these tricks also for making your blur text unblur.

How To Unblur Text In An Image?

Read out full blog to learn more how to do it.

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Introduction to Shutter Speed in Photography

An image of a bird captured using a fast shutter speed
Image source: photographylife.com

If you want to take photos at night or in low light, you’ll need a durable tripod and a long shutter speed. Landscape photographers may use slow shutter speeds to blur the water in rivers and waterfalls for artistic effect while keeping the rest of the shot in sharp focus.

However, by increasing the shutter speed, the opposite effect can be created. With a fast shutter speed, you may capture in-action shots of fast-moving things like flying birds or racing cars. A fast shutter speed catches water drops as they dangle in the air, making them sharp and clear and bringing out details that we might miss with our own eyes.

In each case, the shutter speed is adjusted to accomplish the aforementioned effects. In conclusion, fast shutter speeds are great for freezing action, and slow ones are great for giving the impression of motion to moving objects in photographs.

Methods for Determining the Velocity of the Shutter

Most cameras will indicate shutter speeds in fractions of a second if they are slower than one second. A fourth of a second is represented by the fraction 1/24, and half a second is represented by 1/250. 

Most modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second, but some can go as fast as 1/8000 of a second. Most mirrorless and digital single-lens reflex cameras can only stay open for 30 seconds at most. With a remote shutter release, you don’t have to be close to the camera to use a slower shutter speed.

Exposure Time and Shutter Velocity

Shutter speed also has a significant impact on the exposure of a shot. When the shutter speed is slowed, more light enters the camera, producing a more illuminated photograph. Less light reaches the camera’s sensor when the shutter speed is increased, producing a darker image.

However, the brightness of a picture can be affected by more than just the shutter speed. Aperture When the shutter speed is slow, more light gets into the camera, making the picture brighter.

The amount of light that enters the camera is regulated in large part by the shutter speed. Photographing in bright sunlight requires a fast shutter speed to prevent overexposure. When there isn’t much light, you may need a slow shutter speed to avoid overexposure.

Photographers frequently adjust their cameras’ shutter speeds, as long speeds are preferable for low-light or nighttime photography, as well as when they wish to blur the action in the shot.

Short, Medium, and Long Exposure Times

As a photographer, the only thing you need to keep in mind is a quick shutter speed. If you are photographing birds, your shutter speed should be as fast as 1/1000 of a second. Shutter speeds of 1/200, 1/100, or even longer may be suitable for general photography of slower-moving subjects without creating motion blur. For example- A chair, table, flower, or human.

A tripod is highly recommended in order to get sharp images with shutter speeds greater than 1 second. Long shutter speeds are useful for taking photos in low light or at night, or when you want to blur motion on purpose. If the shutter speed is too low, moving objects will appear blurry.

The slower end of the shutter speed spectrum is still between 1/100 and 1 second. There is a risk of camera shake if you handle them, especially in the last millisecond.

Your point of view and the clarity of your lens are other important considerations. To avoid blur caused by hand-holding a camera at slow shutter speeds, image stabilization in lenses.  If you face the camera shaking while clicking pictures, then you should use a tripod.

When taking photos in poor light, at night, or when you want to blur motion, a slow shutter speed is ideal and a tripod is highly recommended.

Setting the Shutter Speed

In most cameras, the shutter speed is controlled mechanically. The camera’s shutter speed is set manually when the mode control is in the “Auto” mode. However, the shutter speed can be set manually if absolutely necessary:

When using the camera’s “Shutter Priority” setting, the photographer controls only the shutter speed. When using the “Manual” mode, both the shutter speed and the aperture can be changed independently. You can choose between manual and auto-ISO using these two options.

For the best results, let the camera choose the shutter speed for you. Be careful not to overly blur your images with motion, either. In general, I select the “Aperture Priority” setting and let the camera choose the shutter speed, as I explain in greater detail in my essay on camera modes.

Find the Value of the Shutter Speed

How well do you understand your camera’s shutter speed settings? Usually, it’s not hard to find. The circle-shaped shutter speed dial is often found in the upper left corner of the top panel of a camera.

Some less expensive DSLRs don’t have a top LCD, so you’ll have to use the viewfinder to check the shutter speed. If your camera doesn’t have a top LCD or viewfinder, you may still check the shutter speed on the rear display.

Most cameras display the shutter speed as a whole number rather than a portion of a second. A shutter speed of 1 second or greater will allow for the capture of an object as small as 1 cm or as large as 5 cm. It depends on the situation.

If you still can’t figure out the shutter speed, switching to “Aperture Priority” mode and turning off “AUTO ISO” may help. The next stage is to start moving the camera from shadowy to bright spots. The shutter speed will be modified by the setting.

Bottom Line

The shutter speed affects photographs, and it depends on the object. As a photographer, you can choose between slow and fast shutter speeds to capture movement or freeze a moment. But when you learn to control your shutter speed, you gain control over it. Any photographer can benefit from learning more about the technical aspects of photography, but the shutter speed is one that can lead to real skill. 


What are the advantages of a fast shutter speed?

Shutter speeds that are faster suggest that the shutter is extended for a shorter duration of time, which means that less light hits the sensor. For action shots of fast-moving subjects, shutter speeds that move faster than the subject are helpful.

Why is the shutter important in photography?

A shutter is a device that opens the lens aperture of a photograph to let light in and expose the image. The exposure time, or the length of time that light gets in, is controlled by the shutter.

What is Shutter Speed in Photography

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