Checkout our free Lightroom Presets!

What is Shutter Speed? As fast as possible!

One of the major factor that controls exposure is the Shutter Speed.

It is one of those ‘exposure mapping triangle’ (aperture, shutter speed & ISO) in Photography.

If you are still confused on Aperture & ISO, click on their names.

Basically, shutter speed is the numerical measuring factor that helps to control the amount of time that the sensor gets to exposed to the light.

So, let me explain about it as fast as possible.

The science behind the Shutter Speed is really simple.

Inside a camera’s body, there is a shutter that opens up when we click shutter button to allow light pass through it and get exposed to the sensor.

The amount of time (mostly in split seconds) that shutter opens up to let light go in to the sensor is the Shutter Speed.

Here’s is something that may help you understand better.

As you can see in the figure above, sensor is blocked by the shutter to stop light from touching the sensor.

Whenever we click the shutter button, the mirror & shutter opens up & light passes through it & hits the sensor.

The exposure depends on the time the shutter lets light to hit the sensor.

That means, longer the shutter opens, brighter the image & vice-versa.

Other than the exposure itself, another factor shutter speed relates with is the movement of the photo.

Movement of the photo means moving you (the camera holder) or the moving subject.

The shutter speed you set heavily depends on the situation of motion, you & your subject is in.

To clarify, if you are shooting a soccer match, you must use higher shutter speed as it would freeze the exact frame of the situation you want.

But, if you are shooting something like a portrait, there is no necessity to use higher shutter speed.

Note that in such cases where the subject is moving fast & you chose slower shutter speed, you’ll get something called ‘motion blur’ which isn’t pretty most of the times.

And, also note that if you’re shooting in slower shutter speed, you must use tripod or you must have super steady concrete hands which you probably don’t have so, opt for a tripod.

Here is a clear example that would explain about it.


As you may notice in the first image, dog’s legs fur is perfectly sharp as it was shot in faster shutter speed. But in the other image, dog’s body parts are ‘motion blurred’ as it was shot in slower shutterspeed.

The image has numbers like 1/80 & 1/500, that is because, the shutter speed or the time that the shutter remains open is indexed in the fractions of seconds & it goes upto seconds and minutes.

It means, smaller the number is, faster the shutter speed.

Here is a chart that explains it better than words.

Now, you may have got it.

Slow shutter speed opens shutter for a longer amount of time resulting brighter image. But, the downside is you get blurred image if you’re not using a tripod.

And, higher shutterspeed means darker image but also very sharp image.

What you want on a final photograph should make you decide that you need faster or slower shutter speed.

Also, you can always maintain your exposure by playing with aperture and ISO even if you are shooting in higher shutter speed.

So, that’s almost everything (basic) you need to know about the shutterspeed.

And I am wrapping this up.

Make sure you write down any of your confusions regarding shutter speed or anything related to Photography.

Related Posts


  1. Pingback:When to do long exposure photography? - Long Exposure School

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *