Shutter speed is one of the three parts of photography, ISO and Aperture are the other two. Shutter speed is responsible for freezing action or blurring motion.
What is Shutter Speed?
Shutter speed is the length of time a camera shutter is open to expose light to the camera sensor. With a fast shutter speed, you can completely freeze action. If the shutter speed is slow, you will create a blurred effect. Moving objects will appear blurred along the line of the motion blur. Another use for slow shutter speeds is used to shoot images at night, to photograph lightning, and to create a sense of motion with rivers or waterfalls. If you remember nothing about shutter speed, remember this: high shutter speeds freeze action and low shutter speeds create motion.
Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second, when under a second. For example, 1/4 means a quarter of a second, and 1/125 means one one hundred and twenty-fifth of a second.
A slow shutter speed is the slowest shutter speed you can hold your camera without camera shake. If you are going to shoot at slow shutter speeds, a tripod is a good thing to use to minimize camera shake and create sharp images in low light or night photography.
Setting shutter speed
Most cameras can automatically set the shutter speeds through in-camera metering. In Auto mode, the shutter speed and aperture are automatically selected by the camera. When you shoot in Aperture Priority mode (often abbreviated with an A or AV on the camera dial), you set the lens aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed.
To manually set the shutter speed, put the camera in Shutter Priority mode and select the shutter speed. The camera will select the aperture. When you put your camera in Manual mode, you select both the shutter speed and the aperture.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to learn more about shutter speed is to practice. Try shooting with slow and long shutter speeds, night photography and moving objects. A great way to practice is by shooting something in motion. Cars are perfect for this. Start shooting at a high shutter speed and continue to reduce it. Then, study your images for motion blur. The more you practice, the better you will understand and perfect shutter speed with your photography.