My Experience in Using the Shutter Speed


The three main areas that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. I’ve previously looked at making adjustments to ISO and now I want to turn my attention to shutter speed.


And the most basic definition I have, SHUTTER SPEED is the amount of time that the shutter is open.


In film photography it was the length of time that the film was exposed to the scene you’re photographing and similarly in digital photography shutter speed is the length of time that your image sensor “sees” the scene you’re attempting to capture.


When considering what shutter speed to use in an image you should always ask yourself whether anything in your scene is moving and how you’d like to capture that movement. If there is movement in your scene you have the choice of either freezing the movement, so it looks still, or letting the moving object intentionally blur, giving it a sense of movement.


To freeze movement in an image, you’ll want to choose a faster shutter speed and to let the movement blur you’ll want to choose a slower shutter speed. The actual speeds you should choose will vary depending upon the speed of the subject in your shot and how much you want it to be blurred.


Motion is not always bad – I spoke to dada last night and he told me that he always used fast shutter speeds and couldn’t understand why anyone would want motion in their images. And he always does this everytime we watch PBA in Araneta as he captures each and every player’s moment to fly towards the basket. There are times when motion is good. For example when you’re taking a photo of a waterfall and want to show how fast the water is flowing, or when you’re taking a shot of a racing car and want to give it a feeling of speed, or when you’re taking a shot of a star scape and want to show how the stars move over a longer period of time etc. In all of these instances choosing a longer shutter speed will be the way to go. However in all of these cases you need to use a tripod or you’ll run the risk of ruining the shots by adding camera movement (a different type of blur than motion blur).


Focal Length and Shutter Speed – another thing to consider when choosing shutter speed is the focal length of the lens you’re using. Longer focal lengths will accentuate the amount of camera shake you have and so you’ll need to choose a faster shutter speed (unless you have image stabilization in your lens or camera).


I tried once using my own digital camera, non SLR on that matter, my famous Canon IXUS, and this is how I fared. It was really hard to control the shake and adjusting the shutter speed is sometimes confusing, I am telling you.

Gian while on air

Gian while on air


I may have used a slow shutter speed because I captured the image when Gian is about to go down. My target was to take his photo when he is still up there.






Another try

Another try



I adjusted the shutter and I still get this, minus the head this time. Whew, I still have a lot to learn using the shutter speed.






Moment on landing

Moment on landing



I like the hair movement that I was able to capture though. To say the least.

One thought on “My Experience in Using the Shutter Speed

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