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Shutter speed

Tutorial to learn how to adjust the shutter speed of the camera

What is shutter speed?

The Shutter speed of the camera is the measurement of time the shutter stays open to let light into the camera. Learning to effectively adjust shutter speed is a vital factor in order to become a true expert in photography.

To make it simple, imagine that you are in a dark room with closed shutters. Then open them for a few seconds and close them. You just took a picture! That’s exactly what your camera does when you press the shutter release

The shutter is, therefore, the mechanism that will open and close letting a certain amount of light pass into the camera.

Photo edited in Lightroom.

The shutter speed on your camera

To demonstrate, the camera displays the speed like this: 


Shutter Speed Scale: 

1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 second, 2 seconds, etc.

  Fast speed = less light ===================> Slow speed = more light 

Generally, it is expressed in seconds and fraction of seconds (example 1/500th of a sec) So, between two scale values, twice as much light enters your camera. On today’s reflex, you can set time from 30th to 1/8000th of a second.

In the auto mode, P mode, and A mode, the camera basically calculates the shutter speed automatically. If there is a lot of light, your camera will automatically choose a higher shutter speed (1/1000 for example). On the contrary, If it is dark, it will choose a much slower speed (for instance, 1/50). For this second case, an even slower speed (for example, 30 seconds) is necessary.

For a speed higher than 30 seconds, you must use the bulb mode as seen in the tutorial “how to use the bulb mode”. In all cases, if the shutter speed is less than 1/50, there is a higher risk of motion blurring. As a result, the tripod will be mandatory to capture a perfect photograph.

How to adjust the shutter speed

In order to adjust the shutter speed, you will need to set your camera in the S or M mode. The S mode for “speed” (or TV for shutter speed on Canon cameras) is a semiautomatic mode that allows you to adjust the shutter speed of the camera accordingly by letting the camera automatically make all other adjustments.

And the M-Mode for “manual” will allow you to adjust all the settings of your camera, such as Shutter speed, aperture and ISO value. Setting the speed, as a result, will have two effects on a photograph:

Shutter speed indications:

In order to help you, here are some speed indications with correct brightness:

Now you know how to adjust the speed of camera, so your photographs will never be blurred anymore!

The Sport mode on your camera – what you need to know 

When you are in the Sport mode, the fastest possible speed will always be taken into account depending on the lighting you are shooting in.

Shutter Speed - Conclusion

So it is the shutter speed settings that define the exposure time, the time the sensor will stay open to capture the image. If it stays open for a long time, then your photo will be exposed to more light and your camera will record all the movements it sees. Thus you will run a high risk of blurring. 

In easy words, there is no magical technique or recipe to get a good exposure. So this mainly depends on the environment i.e, ambient light, the amount of sunlight, or if it is dark. Using shutter speed with perfection can add professional elements to the photo and get a well-lit, and a clear photograph in different light environments.

In other words, the best way to get good exposure is to practice different speeds in various conditions and test the capabilities of your camera and equipment. 

Besides, the two other parameters that affect the exposure of your photos are the aperture and the ISO sensitivity. (The combination of these settings are also called the exposure triangle).

So now you know how to adjust the speed of the camera.


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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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