Every photographer needs to understand a variety of terms, functions, and the parts of cameras.


Whether you’re pursuing a degree in photography, a strong hobby, or a professional position as a photographer somewhere, you’ll need to know what camera shutters are, how shutter speed affects photography, and hohttp://photohow.org/professional-photographer/w to adjust shutter speed.


Our primary focus today is on shutter speed and how it affects photography. We’ll define a few terms first, to make sure you grasp the components we’re talking about.


What is a Camera Shutter?

The shutter on a camera is the device that allows light to pass through the lens to expose film or digital media on an electronic sensor.


There are a few different types of shutters, including:

  • Leaf shutters
  • Focal plane shutters
  • Rotating shutters
  • Diaphragm shutters
  • Central shutters
  • Electronic shutters

Each type of shutter serves a different function, and alters the way a camera receives the light.


What is Shutter Speed?

As the name indicates, shutter speed is the rate at which a camera shutter opens and closes to allow light into the lens and expose the media within.


Another term for shutter speed is exposure time.


If you’ve ever heard a photographer talking about things like time lapse photography, or long exposure photos, she’s talking about shutter speed photography.


How Do Different Shutter Speeds Affect Photography?

Shutter speed affects photography significantly for a variety of reasons.


First off, a photo that is overexposed due to faulty shutters will be damaged. The image will be washed out, have oddities in the image, or otherwise be poor quality.


Shutter speed also affects motion blur in images. Sometimes, we want motion blur, like when we photograph a waterfall, but sometimes we don’t, like in photos of our kids playing in the yard.


Shutter speed also affects the coloring, shading, contrast, and light in your photographs.


Slow Shutter Speed

Slow shutter speeds are useful for photographing moving objects. For example, you can photograph something like the Milky Way with slow shutter speed, and have clear, beautiful images of the galaxy.


Slow shutter speeds are also good for:

  • Rivers
  • Waterfalls
  • Light trails from cars
  • Sunsets and sunrises
  • Falling leaves

Basically, slow shutter speeds are for capturing images that allude to motion.


Fast Shutter Speed

Fast shutter speeds are primarily used for freezing motion. Whether you’ve got kittens pouncing on toy mice, kids swinging a baseball bat, or butterflies in motion, if you’re trying to capture a clear, motionless shot of an object, you’re going to use a faster shutter speed.


How to Choose the Right Shutter Speed

1. Choose a Shutter Speed that Won’t Blur Still Images

If you’re photographing a still photo, you need to choose a speed that’s suitable for still photography.

You’re trying to eliminate camera shake on still images, so that means you’re going to a faster shutter speed. Aim for 1/60 or faster for still photography.



2. Pick a Fast Shutter Speed to Freeze Motion

If you’re snapping shots of your kids playing baseball, you don’t want motion blur in most circumstances. For these situations, try 1/500 for every day events, and 1/1000 to 1/4000 for extremely fast and up-close objects, like hummingbirds.



3. Use Slow Shutter Speed for Motion Blue

If you’re photographing something like a waterfall, cars in motion, or other objects you want to display motion, slow shutter speeds will elongate the images and give that allusion.


Try using 1 to 2.5 seconds for smooth, flowing waterfalls, or for car light trails, aim for something more like 10 to 20 second shutter speeds.



Additional Tips for Choosing Your Shutter Speed

Before engaging in shutter speed photography, keep these things in mind.

  • Faster shutter speeds need a lot of light to do their best work.
  • Slower shutter speeds work great with lower light. Multiple second shutter speeds thrive with very low light.
  • Always use a tripod with slow shutter speeds to avoid camera shake.
  • Slow shutter speeds are great for nighttime photography, but fast shutter speeds need full light, unless being shot indoors.
  • For your best after dark action shots, increase your ISO sensitivity, and go with a slow shutter speed. If possible, use an external flash for frozen motion images.

Mastering Shutter Speed

Now that you understand shutter speed and know how to adjust the settings for your ideal photos, go out and experiment and have fun with different photography projects.


Try some nighttime shots of the stars or moon. Go to the dog park and snap some shots of the cutest critters chasing balls.


The best way to master shutter speed techniques is trying out different speeds on different images.

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