What is Shutter Speed in Photography?

What is Shutter Speed?

There is a button on top of the camera called the ”shutter release.” By pressing the the button you are releasing the shutter to take the image..

Exposure time is your Shutter Speed. It is the amount of time the light is exposed to the camera’s digital sensor.

Learning how to use the different camera modes of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, along with your patience, you can create your own beautiful images.

Shutter Speed Camera Modes

Cameras usually have three shutter speed modes to choose from: auto, shutter priority, and manual mode. (Description of the modes below)

  • Auto Mode (green rectangle) known as the ”point and shoot” mode. This mode configures the aperture and shutter speed. ISO is set to AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
  • Shutter Priority Mode (S or Tv) Photographer chooses
    shutter speed, camera configures aperture. User chooses AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
  • Manual Mode (M) Photographer controls the Aperture and Shutter Speed. User then chooses between the AUTO or MANUAL ISO.
Measuring Shutter Speed
  • Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second
    • For example, the shutter speed is 1/80 means that the shutter speed is one-eightieth of a second of the light exposure to the sensor.
  • A majority of the cameras can regulate up to 1/4000 seconds shutter speed, some cameras as quick as 1/8000 of a second.
  • In bulb mode, depending on the length of time the shutter button is pressed, the shutter speed can be up to 30 seconds.

Below is an example of an LCD screen showing the shutter speed.

Fast Shutter Speeds vs Slow Shutter Speeds –
  • Fast Shutter Speeds
    • < 1\1000 per second
    • shorter exposure time to the cameras digital sensor
    • allows less light into the cameras digital sensor
    • everything is in focus
    • FREEZES the Action in wildlife, sports, and raindrops
  • Slow Shutter Speeds
    • longer the exposure of light to the cameras digital sensor
    • allows more light into the cameras digital sensor
Motion Blur
  • Motion Blur
    • Motion Blur occurs when the subject or subjects are moving and the photo is taken at a slow shutter speed.
    • When the subject or subjects move when the shutter button is opened.
    • Sometimes photographers intentionally use motion blur as a creative way of expressing their work.
    • Motion blur similarly gives the impression that the subject is moving.
Camera Blur
  • Camera Blur occurs when the user accidentally moves the camera and causes the blur in the photo.

As an amateur photographer, I enjoy learning as much as I can about my Nikon Camera, while using my yard as my inspiration. I am inspired and enjoy capturing images of nature.


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