At a basic level, shutter speed is used to control exposure, but it can also be used as a creative tool that freezes action or adds dramatic blur to moving subjects. In this tutorial we’ll explain some of the common mistakes you might encounter while trying to achieve the five classic shutter speed effects of freezing movement, blurring action, using blur creatively, long exposures and night photography.
After we look at some of the common problems within these shutter speed ranges, we’ll suggest the best shutter speeds for you to use to achieve these effects and offer our best tips for overcoming these errors.
Like the aperture setting, the shutter speed you choose is not simply a way of controlling exposure. The speed also has a visible effect on your pictures – allowing you to control the effect of a moving camera or subject. This can ensure pin-sharp pictures, however unsteady your grip on the camera and however fast the subject is moving.
Shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter blinds in front of the camera sensor are left open. The scale used is much easier to understand than the f/stop aperture system, as exposures are measured in fractions of a second.
Got a new camera for Christmas or just upgraded? Master it quickly with our easy guide to camera settings, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, focus modes, lens choice, flash modes, image editing, printing, camera accessories, camera care, and more…
Hit the ground running with our guide to setting up your new SLR, including choosing the right exposure mode, choosing the right metering mode, setting the aperture and shutter speed, and picking the the focus and drive modes
Set the right combination of aperture and shutter speed and you’ll notice an immediate difference in your photography
You can control the way that movement is captured in your pictures by getting to grips with your camera’s full range of shutter speeds
Great shots with superb composition and perfect metering can be easily totally ruined by a lack of sharpness.
A photo of a running stream, a babbling brook or a cascading waterfall can be transformed from a mere snap into an atmospheric masterpiece.
While it’s important to pursue pin-sharp shots, intentionally blurring parts of a scene, or the whole picture itself, can lead to a more expressive image.