Photography school lesson 5: Shutter speed effects

What effects does changing the shutter speed have?

  • Shutter speed controls the appearance of movement in the image.
  • It is chosen primarily when you want to depict motion, when you are taking photographs of moving things.
  • When the shutter is fired, whatever happens in the shot in the time the shutter is open is recorded on to the sensor or film.
  • If you have chosen a very fast shutter speed, only a split second of the movement will be captured, resulting is a crisp, sharp, frozen shot of the movement at that precise moment.
  • If you have chosen a very slow shutter speed a lot of movement will be recorded. Whatever was moving in the image will be a blur - the more time the shutter was open for the more blurry the movement will appear.
  • Using slow shutter speeds does come with its problems. As stated above, a slow shutter speed captures all the movement in the image; well likewise if your camera is moving, it also captures this.
  • This is called camera shake. Your hands are not steady enough to hold the camera still when taking the photo.
  • As a general rule anything over 1/60s (a sixtieth of a second) - you can hand hold your camera without having to use a tripod.
  • With anything between 1/30s (a thirtieth of a second) and 1/60s, you will experience some camera shake.
  • Anything lower than 1/30s you will have to use a tripod if you want your images to be sharp.