The Basics of Digital Photography
Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter is open. The shutter controls how much light is coming into the camera from the object or scene that you are trying to capture. The capabilities of the shutter speed varies on each camera. Even though the shutter speed works directly through the lens, the camera is what is in control of the speed and range of the shutter. 


With shutter speed the various speeds can range in between 2 minutes to 1/8000th of a second. When the shutter speed is faster there is less light traveling into the camera. The fast shutter speed would be the smaller proportions of the second. For example, if the shutter speed is set to 1/60th os a second a faster speed would be 1/100th of a second. 


Why would we need a faster shutter speed?


We need a faster shutter speed in certain situations. One example is if you are trying to take a picture of a fast moving subject such as someone running. Also when camera take pictures in direct sunlight a fast shutter speed is needed to make sure that too much light isn’t being captured. If there is too much light being captured then the picture can turn out white and over exposed. 



Photo Credit: Gisli Jon,


When do we need a slower shutter speed?


A slower shutter speed means that there will be more light traveling into the camera. In less lit rooms in some cases the shutter speed will need to be lowered or else the pictures will be under exposed or turn out black. Long exposure photography, such as taking pictures of a street at night with car light trails, allows us to capture dark scenes/environments to have them captured in the way that we see with our own eyes. 



Photo Credit: Nabil Z.A., Flickr



When using long exposure photography you must use a tripod. If the camera is moved then the picture will apear blurry. This same problem happens when trying to take a picture with a slow shutter speed in a darker environment. If your picture is out of focus then the shutter speed is most likely too slow. 




For general posed photos of family or friends the slowest shutter speed that is functional is 1/60th of a second or else you run the sick of camera blur. 


For pictures of items that are not moving 1/40th of a second is usually useable without camera blur. 


For pictures of people moving, running, or anytype of motion a shutter speed of 1/100th or higher is recomended. 

Credit: Simple Photo School, Youtube