Silverstrand Photography Blog

Local photography company in Saratoga Springs, UT. Families, corporate, sports.

Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks | Shutter Speeds

Last night, we met our family to go see Toy Story 3 at the drive-in movie for our nephew’s birthday.  Yes, the Drive-In movie!  I think they are so fun!  I haven’t been to a drive-in movie since I was in High School.  Crazy how time flies.  I wish they had a drive-in movie in Provo or Orem!

Okay, today I want to talk about another one of the basics.  How does Shutter Speed work?

The shutter is the part of the camera that controls the amount of movement in your image.  This is because the longer the shutter is open, the more light the film in the camera is exposed to.

So it comes back to you.  When you are doing photography, what do you want to create?  Do you want to freeze a moving object and hold that object’s sharp and hard edges in the picture? You would use a fast shutter speed.


Do you want a slow shutter speed that will blur the subject and give an entirely different look to the picture?  The colors and edges of forms will merge together.

So now when you pick up your camera, you have a decision to make.  What’s going to make this image the best it can be?  The shutter speed or the aperture?

  1. Do you want a shallow or wide depth of field? (Aperture)
  2. Do you want to freeze movement or show the movement in the image? (Shutter Speed)

Once you decide which is most important to you in this particular image, you set your camera settings to your choice and then adjust the other to create a correct exposure.

I often shoot action on a fast shutter speed and then later think, “Maybe this image would have been better or more interesting on a slow shutter speed.”  So try it out.  Try fast and slow shutter speeds to see what you prefer.

Here are a few random pictures that I dug out of the vault. 🙂

Okay, here is one showing the effects of shutter speed.  Everyone else is pretty much holding still except the guy (Jared’s brother) that is running.  He is in focus.  Now how did I do that?  Well let me tell ya. I wanted to show movement, but also wanted you to see who it was that was doing the movement.  So instead of setting the camera to a slow shutter speed and then ending up with him blurred and the background in focus… I panned with the runner.

It was taken at 1/25 of a second.  Aperture set to f/5.0.   And the ISO (will talk about this later) set to 400.  The result makes the runner fairly sharp and the background has a movement streak to it.  Pretty cool huh!

Okay, here’s another one.  This one was taken at 1/10 of a second.  Aperture set at f/4.0.  ISO set to 1600.  This image is showing lots of movement… including the movement of the fire and the fire-dancer spinning it.  Kinda fun though!

Here’s another one.  Shutter Speed: 1/500.  Aperture: f/9.0.  ISO: 320

I wanted to stop movement… to an extent.  But not completely.  So instead of choosing a shutter speed like 1/2000 of a second… I dropped it back to 1/500.  Still a fun crisp picture… but shows a little movement also.

So you have lots of things you can do.  Go try ’em out!  Play around with shutter speed and aperture.  Get some cool effects.

I know many cameras have Aperture priority and shutter priority modes where you select one of the settings, and the camera automatically sets the other…  That’s always an option too.  I never use that setting because I am a control freak and want to make my own decisions… but it’s there if you want to use it.  You make the creative decision.

Come back next Tuesday for more Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks!


2 responses to “Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks | Shutter Speeds

  1. Josh June 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Cool! I made it on your blog site! I’m glad I could be a good example of cool sports photography! Haha.

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