Explained in depth. What is shutter speed in photography?

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Today you will learn in-depth What is shutter speed in photography? why is it so important for beginners. And secret tips to create amazing photos.

What is shutter speed in photography?

Shutter speed is the duration of time the camera shutter is open, exposing light onto the camera sensor.

Actually, it’s how long your camera spends taking a photo. 

It performs this through the use of the camera shutter. The camera’s shutter is what allows the light to hit the film plane or digital imaging sensor.

The fast shutter speed implies that the shutter is only open for a short period of time; a slow shutter speed means the shutter is open for longer(length of time).

Shutter speed is most generally measured in fractions of a second,

like shutter speed setting 1/200 seconds or 1/1000 seconds. Some expensive cameras allow shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 seconds.

Why shutter speed is actually used?

Shutter priority mode (indicated at T or TV on your camera's mode dial),

holds a semi-automated shooting mode that prioritizes shutter speed over the other two exposure settings (aperture and ISO).

In the above image to freeze movement in an image, you want to choose a faster shutter speed of 1/800-1/2000 seconds.

The actual speeds you should choose will vary depending upon the speed of the subject in your shot and how much you want it to be blurred(blur effect).

In this photo, a speed of just 1 second might be enough to get the light trails seen in the image above.

For slower moving subjects, like a person walking, you might require a shutter speed of 5-10 seconds or longer to get blurred movement.

There lies one of the difficulties by creatively using shutter speed: the speed of the subject will, in part,

dictate what shutter speed you need to ensure that the subject is either blur and freezing.

That means you'll frequently need some trial and error to get the right shutter speed for the visual impact you want.

Another issue with slower shutter speeds is that you cannot adequately hold the camera in your hand and get a clear, sharp photo like the one above.

That means you'll need to use a tripod to stabilize your camera.

A common rule of thumb is that once your shutter speed slows to about 1/60 seconds, you'll require to support the camera with something other than your hands.

Why shutter speed is important to know for beginners

One of the obstacles that beginning photographers face is understanding the exposure triangle - that is, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Not only do you need to develop a working knowledge of each individually,

but you also need to understand how they work together to create a well-exposed photo.

It also measures how sharp your photos are, and lets you add lots of interesting creative effects into your shots.

Let's look at what it is, why it's important for beginners, and how you can use it.

Let's start with the mistakes that beginner photographer makes in digital photography:


Camera shake occurs when hand-holding your camera.

No matter how steady you think you are, you can never stand perfectly still, and this small movement confers up in your photos as a blurriness or lack of sharpness.

You can avoid camera blur by using faster shutter speed.

It's more obvious when using lenses with a long focal length,

so the larger the lens, the more you'll need to increase your shutter speed to bypass camera shake.

As a rule of thumb, you should apply the least shutter speed of 1/focal length.

Therefore for a 200mm lens, use a shutter speed of at least 1/200th.

When measuring this, use your lens's effective focal length, which is found by multiplying the focal length by your camera's crop portion.


Motion blurring happens when you're photographing a fast-moving object.

If you use slow shutter speed, the runner will move across the camera frame while the shutter is open,

causing them to appear as a blurry flare in the final image.

But before you go cranking your shutter speed as high as you can, you should think whether you actually want to drop motion blur.

It's an excellent way to convey speed or camera movement in a scene.

You can also do intentionally blurring by panning your camera to keep the subject sharp and blur the background,

doesn't matter whether you are doing portrait or landscape photography.

Beginner photography tips

1. Shutter speeds available to you on your camera will usually double with each set

As a conclusion, you’ll usually have the options for the following shutter speeds – 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, etc.

This ‘doubling’ is helpful to keep in mind as aperture settings also double the amount of light that is let in –

as an end, increasing shutter speed by one stop and decreasing aperture by one stop should give you related exposure levels

2. For slow shutter speed, you will need a tripod

Whenever you are using slow shutter speed for example 1/10 you need to use a tripod for better image stabilization before pressing the shutter release

and don't forget to focus on depth of field

3. Use Tv mode carefully

When you use tv mode(shutter speed), what happens is that it automatically sets Aperture and ISO.

And it may degrade the image quality your picture by grains because of automatically increasing ISO(iso speed)

And aperture affects by lack of focusing and increase of blackness

4. FOCUS on Manual mode

You can go insane with manual mode but there are some points which you have to keep in mind.

set proper iso settings, set aperture sizes for sharp focus and exposure times

start with street photography as basics

5. lighting conditions

as for now avoid low lighting conditions because of ruins the image. Work on different photos that are exposed to light.

6. post-processing

Editing the photo will enhance the way it looks, add your creative control presets or use different color spaces to light the image properly.


1. What effects can I apply in my shooting (photography) with the shutter speed?

ANSWER- Go for the classical panning shot:

Or shoot fireworks easily

you can use bulb mode to capture star trails

2. How shutter speed and movement speed affects the quality of the video?


Suppose you are shooting at 24 frames per second, and you are taking a video of a small river in the forest, with water flowing down continually.

Without adjusting the frame rate, which is set at 24fps, you change the shutter speed instead.

Let's start with 1/2000th a second. You take a video lasting 5 seconds of the water rushing.

Next, without moving the camera, switch your shutter speed to a much higher one, say 1/30th a second,

we'll believe that the camera will change the exposure accordingly to give you a similar exposure.

You take an extra video lasting 5 seconds of the water.

Simultaneous comparing the two videos, you will find that on the one taken with 1/2000th sec shutter speed,

the water is much more bracing, and when you stop at a particular frame in the video, you can tell the minute portions of the water's image.

However, when you look at the one-shot with a shutter speed of 1/30th a second, you will notice that the water is less crisp.

And when you pause the video and inspect the freeze frame, you probably won't be able to discern many details from the water.

Use higher shutter speed to record fast actions crisply, but the motion will look a little choppy something is moving very fast.

Use a slow shutter speed if you want the motion to be visually more fluid and steady, and that crisp details are not necessary.

CONCLUSION- If you have more doubts about shutter speed photography then please watch what is shutter speed in photography tutorial on youtube to clear the idea in your mind or read photography articles.

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