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Photography Basics: What is Shutter Speed

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Jordan Younce
  By Jordan Younce
Photography Basics: What is Shutter Speed www.sleeklens.com

In this tutorial, I will talk about shutter speed. This is one of the features that affect your photography quality and understanding the basics of the same will be important especially if you are a beginner. For those who don’t know, shutter speed is a small door in your camera that opens and closes at the amount of time that you have set. This door will open and will expose your camera to light and then will close and shut off the light to your camera thus allowing your sensors to capture the scene. So, basically, shutter speed is a small opening or shutter that will open and close at the time you’ve set.

On your camera, you will see different values that you can set. You will see values ranging from one four thousandths of a second to 30 seconds long. So, let’s say you have a value of a thousandth of a second, what that means is that if you take a picture of something, it’s going to freeze wherever that object is. It’s also going to let in less light to the sensor and that means you will have to take that photo in a bright situation or have your eyes clinked up so high to allow more light to hit the sensor.

If you have a shutter speed that is longer, potentially one fourth of a second or much longer, it’s going to slow motion and you’ll see more blurry subject if it is moving fast and it’s going to let in more light to the camera and therefore this will be helpful in low light situation.

Benefits of using different types of shutter speed

With this understanding, let’s look at the benefits of using different types of shutter speed. In our tutorial video, we have a photo capturing a waterfall and this is taken at a faster shutter speed. What this does is that it is freezing the water coming out of the waterfall. But we have seen amazing waterfall photos with silky smooth waters and those are taken at a longer shutter speed. What this does is that when the camera opens the shutter, it’s seeing the motion of the water and then closing, allowing it to show the motion of the water thus giving a silky smooth appearance of the water.

We also have another example of light coming into the camera. If we have the photo and want to take a photo of it, we are going to have a very short shutter speed with everything set neutral, we will have a dark image. We need to make sure it is exposed to the right situation. We will, therefore, allow more light to come into the camera, using a longer shutter speed. It’s going to vary from scene to scene and this is what we call ‘exposure triangle’ where you try to have everything calculated including the shutter speed. So, when you have a longer shutter speed, you are allowing the collect manner of light to hit the sensors thus giving you the proper exposure.

Basically, that is what shutter speed is. Using shutter speed along with what the aperture and the ISO are set to (This is called the Exposure Triangle) will allow you to take better photos and menu mode and kind of gives you the understanding of it.

You can check out for more of our tutorials to help you advance your understanding of photography and post processing editing.

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Jordan Younce

Jordan Younce

I am a Real Estate and Landscape photography as well as a Graphic Designer based in North Carolina, USA. My passion for photography started with taking photos with a point-and-shoot and now I own a successful photography business. My goal is to help others learn the art of photography, develop their creative side and just have fun.

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