shutter speed in photography

Shutter Speed In Photography

Shutter Speed In Photography

Shutter Speed in photography is the amount of time your camera’s shutter is open. Or, how long you expose for. Opening up your shutter allows for light to pass through to the sensor.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. Together with aperture and ISO, it makes up the exposure of any photograph you take!

Shutter Speed And Light

The first thing to think about with shutter speed is how it is affected by light.

The faster your shutter speed, the darker your image will be.

The slower your shutter speed, the brighter your image will be.

Shutter Speed And Motion

There is an artistic effect of fast (or slow) shutter speeds. It’s motion!

You can convey motion (or a lack of motion) by adjusting your shutter speed setting.

Slower Speeds

Slower shutter speed allows for more time to go by. So, more light will pass through!

You’re also allowing more time for your subject to move or for your hands to shake. Your images may be blurry.

Motion blur!

Tip: Try using a tripod to stabilize your camera.

Faster Speeds

Faster shutter speed allows less time to go by, so you can freeze your subject without the motion blur.

However, less time means less light gets through to the sensor. Your exposure will be darker.

Example 1 – Shutter Speed Getting Slower

You may hear a photographer refer to a “stop of light”. A “stop” in shutter speed allows for twice as much (or in the other direction, half as much) time to go by.

This affects how much light will hit the image sensor!

If you start at 1/60th of a second on your dial, the next “stop” will be 1/30th of a second. Then 1/15th of a second, and so on. Each having twice as much time as the last stop.

Example 2 – Shutter Speed Getting Faster

If you go the other way on your dial:

Starting at 1/60th of a second the next stop is 1/125th, then 1/250th, then 1/500th, and so on. Each having half as much time as the last stop.


By learning about shutter speed in photography, you can shoot photographs in low light & bright light. You can shoot things that are in motion or standing still!