Photo Friday: Shutter Speed

Photo Friday
Photo Fridays are brought to you by Brandon Queen Photography.

Shutter Speed


Last week we talked about the different terms needed to understand your camera. I want to focus on shutter speed this week. Lets take a look at what shutter speed can do for you in your photos.

In photography, shutter speed is a common term used to discuss exposure time, the effective length of time a camera’s shutter is open.

The shutter speed is simply the length of time that the light hits the film or sensor allowing the image to be recorded. Each variation in speed (much the same as the aperture variations) is known as a stop. A shutter speed of 1/60 of a second lets in twice as much light as a speed of 1/120s.

As you are letting in less light with a faster speed, you need to compensate and allow more light in via a larger aperture (creating less depth of field) or a higher and more sensitive ISO setting, and vice versa.

You also have fast shutter speeds and slow shutter speeds. You can get great photo with both. For example:

Slower Shutter Speed. Notice how the players feet are blurry and the rest is in focus. This gives a feeling of movement and is sometimes preferred creatively. (click on image for more detail)

Faster Shutter Speed. Notice how all of the players are in - focus and hardly any blurriness. This indicates a faster shutter speed. The depth of field is reduced (the chairs are blurry) because the aperture is greater. (click on image for more detail)

Conventionally, the exposure is measured in units of exposure value (EV), sometimes called stops, representing a halving or doubling of the exposure with each stop. Multiple combinations of shutter speed and aperture can give the same EV: halving the shutter speed doubles the exposure (+1 EV), while doubling the aperture size (halving the focal number) increases the exposure area by a factor of 4 (+2 EV). For this reason, standard apertures differ by about 1.4. Thus an exposure with a shutter speed of 1/250 s and f/8 is the same as with 1/500 s and f/5.6, or 1/125 s and f/11. The shutter is what determines the duration the sensor is exposed to light and the aperture determines the intensity of that light.

Here are four photos showing how the Shutter Speed affects a photo’s appearance. On a Canon camera (dslr/point and shoot) the mode is TV on Nikon the mode is S.

Shutter Speed: 1/6s


Shutter Speed: 1/10s

Shutter Speed: 1/20s








Shutter Speed: 1/50s

Now get out and start using your shutter and get creative!


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