Getting Started with Shutter Speed

Getting Started with Shutter Speed

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Shutter speed is one of the most important things if you want to fully master your camera and photography. Besides aperture and ISO. This is Getting Started with Shutter Speed.

This article is part of series of long exposure photography.

What’s Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed means the time it takes for a photo to be captured or recorded by a camera.

How does Shutter Speed work?

You probably think that a camera takes a shot at once in a single snap. But that’s not true. For a camera to take a photo, actually need time for it to capture the entire frame. So if a camera takes a photo right at that second, it’s because that’s the only time it takes to capture (or record) a photo. For example, if a photo is taken right away, the shutter speed probably ranges from 1/60 sec or less (the fastest about 1/4000 second). It didn’t take even a second, right?

Deciding Shutter Speed

Shutter speed can range from the fastest of usually 1/4000 second to the slowest of 30 seconds. In Auto mode, you don’t have to be bothered with such a thing. But in Manual and Shutter Priority mode, you have to decide for yourself which shutter speed to choose. To decide which shutter speed to be used, you must consider these things:

  1. How’s the situation around you?
  2. What kind of photograph do you want to take?

1. How’s the situation around you?

What I mean by the situation is how the lighting of the location. Are you in a dark place or in a bright place?

The basic principle of shutter speed is “Slower shutter speed means longer the camera sensor exposed to light.”

If you’re in a dark place, fast shutter speed can cause underexpose of photos. But slow shutter can increase the time for light to expose the camera sensor and increase the exposure.


In 1.3 second
Make the shutter speed slower by a 10 second

If you’re in a bright place, slow shutter speed can cause overexposed photos. But faster shutter speed can limit the time for light to expose the camera sensor and decrease the exposure.

in 1/13 second
make the shutter speed faster by 1/80 second

Following this principle can give you high-quality photography.

2. What kind of photograph do you want to take?

In the end, it depends on what kind of photography you want to make. If you want to make the best-looking quality photo, follow the principle above. But there are many photography tricks that require you to break such principles. Especially when it comes to moving objects.

Anything that moves is a moving object. Like water, car, people, wind, and any motion element.

Take a look at the image below:

In fast shutter speed
In slow shutter speed

That’s one of the examples of the shutter speed trick. There’s a difference between when taking a moving object with faster shutter speed and slow shutter speed.

Faster shutter speed can give the most sharper and freeze-like shot. As if an object that is supposed to be moving, don’t look like moving at all.

Slower shutter speed can reduce the sharpness and focus of the moving object. But can give the sense of motion of an object, usually called a motion blur.

Now you can be getting started with shutter speed. To remind you all, that shutter speed doesn’t work alone. But together with Aperture and ISO.

Check out this cheat sheet if you want to understand shutter speed easier.

Also Read: Defining Long Exposure Photography


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