What Is Shutter Speed?

What is Shutter Speed in photography?

Shutter Speed In Simple Words

Shutter speed is a photography term that refers to how long the camera's shutter remains open when taking a photo. This timespan has different duration options, like 1s, 1/125s, 1/1000s etc.

When your shutter speed is set to 1s, the shutter will remain open for 1 second.
Similarly, if your shutter speed is set to 1/125s, the shutter will remain open for 1/125th of a second. Likewise, when your shutter speed is set to 1/1000s, the shutter will remain open for 1/1000th of a second.

Shutter Speed and Exposure 

Shutter speed determines the duration for which your camera's shutter collects light, thereby impacting the exposure of your photo.

Using a fast shutter speed such as 1/4000s will restrict the amount of light that your camera sensor captures, possibly leading to a darker photograph.

On the other hand, if you use a slower shutter speed like 5s, the sensor gets more light, which makes the photo brighter.

Fast Shutter Speed - Less Light
Slow Shutter Speed - More Light

Shutter Speed and Sharp Photos

Shutter speed plays a crucial role in achieving the desired sharpness of your photos. Various factors contribute to the overall sharpness, and shutter speed is one of them.

Consider it this way, you're not just gathering light, you're also capturing motion. For instance, at 1/2000s shutter speed, you freeze a precise moment. However, at 1/25s shutter speed, you capture a more extended timeframe of action.

With slower Shutter Speeds, because the captured moment is stretched, any motion in your photo can result in motion blur. 

Fast Shutter Speed - Freezes Motion
Slow Shutter Speed - Creates Motion Blur (if there's any movement)

What is Shutter Speed? Slow Shutter Speed

Motion blur isn't necessarily a negative element in your photos. However, if you wish to minimize it, you can achieve this by using a faster Shutter Speed.
If your photo appears dark, don't hesitate to increase your ISO.

Creative Ways to Use Slow Shutter Speed


Switch your camera to Manual mode, place it on a tripod, and point it towards the stars. Open the aperture all the way and play around with slow shutter speeds, like 20s. Adjust the ISO as needed.

Before pressing the shutter, you might perceive it as merely a black sky. However, don't hesitate, go ahead and press the shutter. Your camera will capture the sky for 20 seconds, and you'll witness the outcome once it's finished. Keep experimenting until you are satisfied.

What is Shutter speed? Astrophotography

Long Exposure Photos of Waterfalls

Capturing waterfalls with a slow shutter speed can create stunning images. The water appears silky and almost unreal due to the longer exposure.

Move to manual mode and mount your camera on a tripod. Set your aperture at f/8 or higher and use a low ISO. Try different shutter speeds around 3s to see the magic unfold. 

What is Shutter speed? Long exposure of a waterfall

In Conclusion

By adjusting the shutter speed, you control the exposure and the sharpness your photos. Feel free to experiment.

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