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Arts, Crafts and Designs | Photography | Technology | Tutorial / How to:

Photography Basics: Shutter Speed

July 15, 2013

So this is like, just the real basic stuff. I only had time for a coupla quick snaps to use for this not-quite-tutorial, so please expect nothing fancy or intricate.

In layman’s terms, shutter speed is the duration of time that the shutter is open once you click the camera. This is usually measured in seconds or increments of seconds like 1/x seconds. The longer the shutter remains open, the more light enters the image sensor. To better demonstrate, take a look at the following photos. They are all set at f/5.6 and ISO of 1600 and not edited save for putting the labels. The only difference is the shutter speed:


Basically, if the shutter speed is set to less than a second, that is 1/x, the smaller the value of x, the slower the shutter speed and the more light enters the sensor. So you see, shutter speed is directly related to the brightness of the photo. That is not all, however.

Varying the shutter speed can also stop or show motion. Fast shutter speeds can freeze movement. Think, jump shots like these:

jump shot 2 jump shot 1

On the other hand, slow shutter speeds capture the range of movements within the given duration. This is best demonstrated by flowing water shots like these:


Unfortunately, I could not recall the exact camera settings I used for the waterfall photos since these are old photos (circa 2009). I have lost the original copies and these are just downloaded from one of my FB albums. 😐 Nevertheless, I do recall that the shutter speed I used is more than a second. It took me several shots to get it right since the longer the exposure time, the more prone to blurring due to movement. If you are not using a tripod like me, that is.

For more in-depth discussions about shutter speed, here are some helpful links:

So there you go, my first (and hopefully not last) photography tutorial. I hope you learned something from me today. If you have any questions or clarifications, feel free to comment below. 🙂

Up next, I gotta blabber on about aperture and ISO. Stay tuned. 😉

    1. Some semi-pro cameras have controls for shutter speed, aperture and ISO too. All DSLR have them. 🙂 I still need to shoot photos for tutorials. That, or maghanap ulit sa baul. 😛

  1. oh cool, jump shots! it’s a still a hit or miss subject for me these days. i’ll try these tricks later. thanks, sis. this really, really helps a lot.

    1. Switch to continuous shooting mode when shooting jump shots sis. That’s what I do. That way, I don’t have to anticipate or compensate for the movement, recorded na lahat. Pili na lang ng pinakamatinong shots after. 🙂

  2. Finalleh! You know what? This is helpful to a lot of people more than you realize. Very very very nice first tutorial post although I got lost at the first mention of that “f” something and ISO. Good thing naka-cambio ka agad through that last sentence. Can’t wait! I like tutorials like this. Yung tipong hindi wagas ang jargons. Thanks for being sensitive to us na mga walang alam sa technicalities ng camera. Remember when I said I’m reluctant to learn? You just turned that around! This is so timely for when I get a hold of my own Canon 🙂 I love youuuu!

    1. Awww, thanks sis! I’m touched, really. 🙂 I was wondering how to go about this informal tutorial, seeing as there are plenty out there already. I asked myself, what could I bring to the table that’s different from theirs? I have no answer to that so I just went with gut feel, just to share what I personally know about the topic, instead of just copying from other references. Thankfully, it turned out okay. 🙂

  3. Great write up. Very helpful for those who are just new to dslr. At least they get a glimpse of is this for. For your next aperture and ISO, maybe you can provide the links in this blog as well, coz they are all connected to each other 🙂

    1. Thanks Gayle! 🙂 Yeah, will be linking back to this when I finally got those posts together. I thought it would be easier to write them down now that I’ve started this, but apparently I was wrong. Oh well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post them sometime before the year ends. Lol.

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