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Shutter speed

This is a tutorial to learn how to adjust the shutter speed of a camera

What is shutter speed?

The shutter speed of a camera is the measurement of time that the shutter stays open in order to let light into the camera. Learning to effectively adjust shutter speed is a vital factor for becoming a true expert in photography. To make it simple, imagine that you are in a dark room with closed shutters. Open them for a few seconds, and then 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 opens and closes, 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, shutter speed is expressed in seconds or in fractions of seconds (example 1/500th of a sec). So, between two scale values, twice as much light enters your camera. With today’s reflex, you can set time from 1/30th to 1/8000th of a second.

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

You must use the bulb mode for a speed higher than 30 seconds, as seen in the tutorial “how to use the bulb mode”. In all cases, if the shutter speed is less than 1/50th, then there is a higher risk of motion blurring. For this reason, a tripod will be necessary in order to capture the perfect photograph.

How to adjust the shutter speed

In order to adjust the shutter speed, you will need to set your camera to 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 speed of the camera by letting the camera automatically make all other adjustments.

The M mode for “manual” will allow you to adjust all the settings of your camera, such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO value. As a result of this, setting the speed will have two effects on a photograph:

Speed indications:

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

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

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

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


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, your camera will record all the movements it sees, and you will run a high risk of blurring your photo. There is no magical technique or recipe to get a good exposure; it mainly depends on the environment, i.e., ambient light, the amount of sunlight, or whether it is dark. Using shutter speed with perfection can add professional elements to your photo, and you can also take a well-lit and clear photograph in different light environments. In other words, the best way to get good exposure is to practice with different speeds in various conditions and test the capabilities of your camera and equipment. The other two parameters that affect the exposure of your photos are the aperture and the ISO sensitivity (the combination of these settings is also called the exposure triangle).

Now you know how to adjust the speed of your camera.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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