Understanding Shutter Speed

This image was shot with a Shutter Speed of 1/2 Second and an Aperture of f18: This allowed the water to blur for a smooth look and the depth of field to be great enough that the entire image appears in focus.

Below you will find an excerpt from my book “Understanding the Basics of Exposure”. This will help you get a better idea of the books content as well as teach you a little about the Shutter Speed and how it is used. If you know of anyone into photography please share this post. I believe that the book can help those just getting started as well as reinforce the basics for those who have been doing this for a while. Enjoy this excerpt and please leave a comment and let me know what you think.


You can check out the book here:  http://www.ephototraining.com/understanding-the-basics-of-exposure/  The PDF version is on sale right now for only $1.99.


Shutter Speed

What is the shutter?

The shutter is a mechanical device that opens for a specified duration to allow light to hit the sensor of your camera.  Most modern cameras have shutter speed ranges from 30 seconds to 1/8000th of a second.  Many have a “bulb” setting that allows the shutter to be controlled manually for extremely long shutter durations. 

How the Shutter is Used

Not only can the shutter speed be used to make a proper exposure but it can be creatively used to blur motion or to stop it completely. 

Any motion that occurs while the shutter is open will show on the image.  The faster the shutter speed, the more likely you are to freeze the movement.  As you can imagine, a 1/8000 of a second shutter speed would just about freeze any movement while a slow shutter speed of 1/15 might show a considerable amount of motion. 

In the two examples shown here the top one was shot at 1/20th of a second.  While this seems to be a slower shutter speed it is still too fast to allow the water to blur.  You can see on the bottom image what happens when the shutter is left open for a longer period of time.  The shutter speed on the bottom photo was 1.1 seconds and allows the water to blur to a silky smooth look.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1/20th of a second @ f2.8

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1.1 seconds @ f16