Playing With Shutter Speed: A Few Expert Tips And Tricks

Nov 05, 2017

Shutter speed is considered an integral part of the three pillars of photography (the other two being the aperture and the ISO).

Shutter speed is inherently linked to the creation of dramatic effects in photography, either through freezing or blurring. We’ll discuss all these things in greater detail in this article but before that, let’s brush up a few of the basics first.

How does the shutter of a camera work?

The shutter acts as a form of a curtain in front of the sensor of the camera. It typically stays closed until the camera’s used for a shot.

As soon as the camera’s clicked, the shutter opens up exposing the sensor to the available light. It then closes almost immediately as soon as the sensor’s finished with its collection of light.

What is shutter speed and how does it work?

Shutter speed stands for the actual length of time the shutter’s kept open to the available light.

Scenario 1: Shot taken with a faster shutter speed

According to the situation described in this scenario, the frame of the photograph will freeze completely just like the image shown below:

Image- The hunt

Note: Photographs captured with a faster shutter speed usually exhibit zero motion blurring effects, on the whole. Take a closer peek at the ”hunt” depicted above, and you’ll understand what we are talking about.

Scenario 1: Shot taken with a slower shutter speed

Photographs taken with a slower shutter speed normally exhibit a whole lot of motion blurring effects. Here’s a case in point:

Image: Waves crashing against a cliff

Creative use of shutter speed: A few exceptional tips and tricks

Slow shutter photography goes very easy on the eye. When done correctly, the effects can look cool from all possible angles and can simultaneously convey a sense of motion to the viewer for good.

Okay, now let’s go through a few tips and tricks through which you might be able to use this technique to your advantage.

1. Shoot with a support, preferably a tripod

A tripod can help to keep your camera shake at bay in the best possible manner. Hence, it is strongly advisable for you to use a tripod for your photo shoots, particularly when slow shutter photography is concerned of the lot.

Image- A tripod

Remember, the primary objective of slow shutter photography is to capture a significant amount of light in the photograph to produce a cool blurry effect. The key to getting this right is to use a support to hold the camera steady. A tripod can definitely help.

2. Use the “priority” mode of the shutter to your advantage

The shutter priority mode will give you the option to set your shutter time according to your requirements.

So use the shutter priority mode to your advantage and let your camera do the rest. Your key points to note will be:

  • Selecting a slow shutter speed of 10 or 20 seconds on the shutter priority mode will let you capture a whole lot of light in your photograph. This can help you incorporate some cool motion blur effects in your photograph almost exactly like the image shown below.

Image- Woman on a bike

Source- Flickr

  • Selecting a higher shutter speed on the shutter priority mode will let you freeze the frame within a split second of time. This can help you incorporate a calmer effect in your photograph, more or less similar to the photograph shown below.

Image- Silhouette of a female runner

3. Don’t forget to take the subject’s speed and direction in consideration

The direction of movement coupled with the speed of the moving object can significantly help to influence the amount of motion blur in your photograph either for better or for worse.

And remember, the faster the motion, the more is the blur. So do accordingly.

Image- A majestic shot

4. And finally, use the slow shutter technique for shooting cool light trails in low light photography

Image- Cool light trails

Your shutter speed can contribute a lot in incorporating these cool effects in your photographs. For more information on light trails, refer to this article, in particular.


So that essentially sums up this article for now. Hope you had a beautiful and an enlightening read.

Article Posted in: Career Guide Tutoring Guide
Tags: Photography

Team LearnPick

LearnPick is an online marketplace for all kinds of tutoring and learning services. We provide a platform to help learners find home tutors, online tutors, expert trainers,tutorial centers, training institutes and online tutoring schools. Learners can also find local classes, workshops, online courses and tutorials on a huge variety of topics. We operate in 12 countries worldwide and our community of learners, teachers and training businesses numbers over 3,00,000. We provide an opportunity for individual tutors and tutoring businesses to promote and grow their business.

Related Posts