What is shutter speed?

What is Shutter Speed?

What is shutter speed? An explanation of how it can be used to freeze action, blur motion and take night shots.
Also how it relates to light, exposure, stops, ISO and aperture for DSLR photography beginners.

Shutter Speed

The term shutter speed refers to the amount of time that the camera gathers light. It is measured in seconds or fractions of seconds. It is also known as exposure time and it is represented by the symbol Tv(Canon). Some standard values are: 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1″. These numbers were specifically defined so that for every step increased in the exposure time, the amount of light gathered, or exposure is doubled.

On the other hand, if the exposure time is decreased by one step, the exposure of the photograph is halved. You can also use any number in between these values. In other words, the amount of light that goes into the sensor is proportional to the amount of time that the shutter is open. For example, if the current exposure time is set to 1/15 and the photographer changes the shutter speed to 1/30, the amount of light received by the sensor will be half of what was before because the exposure time would be shorter.

Shutter Speed

Changing the Shutter Speed

The photographer can control how the movement of the objects will be perceived in the photograph. For example, water moving on a river can be presented very smoothly if a long exposure time is selected, for example, 1″. On the other hand, water can be presented sharply if the shutter speed is faster, such as 1/60, which is one-sixth of a second of exposure time.

If you want to freeze a moving object, you need to set the shutter speed to a value similar to the object speed. If you want to show the object moving, you need to select a slower shutter speed. The disadvantage of using long exposure times is that the camera has to be perfectly still or the photograph will come out blurred. You can use tripods or flat surfaces to keep the camera as still as possible.

This partially solves the problem, but your finger slightly moves the camera when you push the shutter button. One suggestion to avoid this is to use the self-timer setting of the camera; set this timer for about two seconds. Using this technique, the camera will itself take the photograph two-seconds after you press the shutter button, remaining still while the exposure is being done.

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  1. Glenna Carlen
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