What is Shutter Speed?
Your Camera’s Shutter Speed is one of the three fundamental settings required to produce a photograph with a good level of light (Exposure).
Where is the Shutter?
The Shutter is a moving door inside your Camera’s body. It opens and closes when you press the shutter release button (take the photo). The photos below show a shutter door open and closed inside a film camera. Digital camera shutters work the same way, opening to allow light (that’s already travelled through the aperture in the lens) onto the sensor at the back (where you have set the ISO).
How to I Control the Shutter Speed?
The Shutter’s speed is controlled by a button or scroll on the body of the camera. It is different on every camera and you will need to find it (use your camera manual if needed). You should have a screen either on the top or back of your camera that will show you the number you are set to.
What am I looking for?
You are looking for numbers that look like this… 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000 (you will have a lot more numbers than this on a DSLR).
How does it Affect the Photograph Technically?
The brightness (exposure) of the photograph is affected by the opening and closing Speed of the Shutter. This change allows you to control how much light you let in, however this will have a creative effect on the photograph (as shown below).
How does the Shutter Speed Affect the Photograph Creatively?
Movement in your photograph will be affected by the the changing length of the Shutter opening (speed).
Movement will be captured as if Still (below) with a Faster Shutter Speed (i.e: 125 or 250).
Movement will be captured with a Motion Blur (below) with a Slower Shutter Speed (i.e: 20 or 30).
These photos were taken on the ‘Shutter Priority’ Setting, so the camera corrected for the light change using the Aperture to keep it at the same level.