Shutter Speed

This week, I researched and experimented with the shutter speed camera setting. To inform my learning, I watched videos and read articles about this topic. For reference, check out these helpful resources:


What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera shutter is open. A camera’s shutter speed controls the amount of time that we can capture light. Depending on the amount of light exposed to the camera sensor, your camera can freeze a subject, or create a motion blur effect. The TV symbol on a camera represents “Time Value”, controlling the shutter speed settings.


What is the difference in Shutter Speeds?

Slow Shutter Speed (camera still): When the camera is still, a slow shutter speed will not be able to freeze a moving subject, causing the subject to be blurry.

Shutter Speed: 1/30

Slow Shutter Speed (camera moves): If the camera focusses on the moving subject and moves with it, a slow shutter speed will create a blur effect in the background, while keeping the subject frozen sharp.

Shutter Speed: 1/30

Fast Shutter Speed: A fast shutter speed will freeze a moving action and will not create a background blur effect. This setting produces a motionless looking image.

Shutter Speed: 1/1000

How does the shutter speed effect exposure?

Slow Shutter Speed (<1/60): If you use a slow shutter speed, your camera shutter is open for longer. This allows your camera sensor to gather more light, resulting in a bright photo.

Fast Shutter Speed (>1/125): When using a fast shutter speed, your camera shutter is open for a short amount of time. This results in a darker photo because the camera sensor is exposed to a small fraction of light.


How do I compensate for overexposed and underexposed images?

In photography, light is controlled by the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. It is a balancing act between these three camera settings to determine exposure. 

The majority of cameras today have a scale that indicates the exposure. This tool can be helpful in determining what settings need to be changed to achieve the ideal exposure.


ISO: ISO refers to a camera setting that will brighten or darken an image. The ISO number determines how sensitive the camera sensor is to light. A higher ISO number (3200), will produce a brighter photo, and a lower ISO number (100), will produce a darker photo. 

*Note: The higher the ISO number, the more grainy the photo will appear. While this is not ideal, it may be necessary when you cannot adjust shutter speed and aperture settings.

Fast Shutter Speed: When minimal light is captured due to a fast shutter speed, raising the ISO number will brighten the image.

Slow Shutter Speed: When too much light is gathered due to a slow shutter speed, lowering the ISO number will darken the image.

*Tip: To avoid unnecessary noise in photos, leave your ISO number at 100 (the lowest), and adjust it LAST, after you have set the shutter speed and aperture settings. If your photo depends on a fast shutter speed and large aperture, you will need to fix exposure through raising the ISO. If your photo only depends on a fast shutter speed, correct the exposure through lowering the f-stop number, and set the ISO as low as possible.


Aperture: Aperture can be described as a hole within the lens that allows light to travel into the camera. By increasing or decreasing the size of the hole, you are are allowing more or less light to reach the camera sensor- and therefore changing the brightness of an image.

f-stop: The aperture of the lens is determined by the f-stop. The “AV” symbol on a camera represents “Aperture Value”, controlling the f-stop settings. A larger f-stop number (f/19), will capture less light, as the hole decreases. A smaller f-stop number (f/1), will gather more light, as the hole expands. 

Fast Shutter Speed: When minimal light is gathered due to a fast shutter speed, raising the f-stop number will brighten the image.

Slow Shutter Speed: When more light is captured due to a slow shutter speed, lowering the f-stop number will darken the photo.


When do I adjust Shutter Speed?

1. To capture moving subjects or actions

Fireworks

Animals

Sports

2. To adjust exposure (working with ISO and aperture)

– overexposed= fast shutter speed for less light

– underexposed= slow shutter speed for more light


Cheat Sheet


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