Shooting In Manual Lesson 3: Shutter Speed

Welcome to Lesson 3!! All about Shutter Speed. In basic terms, shutter speed is just the amount of time that the shutter is open before it closes and completes the picture. Shutter Speed is measured in seconds.

Your camera can keep the shutter open for as long as you want, even hours (or until the battery dies 😉 ) There is a feature called bulb mode, where it lets you hold down the shutter button and release it whenever you’re ready.

But it can also be as fast as a fraction of a second. For example 1/500 of a second is faster than 1/40 of a second. The fast the shutter speed, the less chance of motion blur, but also the less light that comes in.

Again, going back to that curtain. Remember how we compared the aperture to the curtain? In Lesson 2? Well the shutter speed, if you remember, is how long we leave the curtain open for. So if we want to let in a ton of light, we can leave the curtain open for many seconds. If you want to let in a tiny bit of light, we can just open and shut the curtain really fast. Remember, though, the longer the shutter speed, the more likely you will get motion blur. Especially if you are holding the camera, or if your subject is not perfectly still.

Here are some examples of a slow shutter speed and a fast shutter speed. You can see that the camera caught my son’s hand in mid-wave, and it looks pretty clear.

Source: Jamie Fountain Photography Me :)

Source: Jamie Fountain Photography Me 🙂

Shutter Speed: 1/750 Aperture 3.5 ISO 1600


Notice that his hand practically disappears when he’s waving.

Source: Jamie Fountain Photography Me :)

Source: Jamie Fountain Photography Me 🙂

Shutter Speed: 1/10 Aperture: 5.6  ISO 100

Here are some pointers that have worked for me regarding which shutter speed to use when.


#1. Photographing children.

I tend to leave my shutter speed at no lower than, 1/250 of a second. Now this is the SLOWEST I will go, if I can I will go faster.


For adults and Older children

They usually know how to be still, so I can get away with 1/125 of a second or faster.

If you’re photographing an object that is stationary

it really doesn’t matter, as long as you can hold the camera without camera shake. The rule that a lot of photographers go by is, to have your shutter speed match your focal length. For example, if you’re shooting at a focal length of 60mm, Don’t let your shutter speed go below 1/60 of a second. If it is at 200mm don’t let it go slower than 1/200 of a second. But honestly, if you’re getting down below 1/60 of a second, you probably want to use a tripod. We can’t really hold still for that long. It may seem like a split second but, we always end up moving, just by handshake, or even just from breathing.

For landscapes

the best thing to do is use a tripod. The landscape is not going anywhere, so you can set your camera up on a tripod and you can experiment with different shutter speeds. If you’re doing a photo of a waterfall, you may want to slow down the shutter speed to 1 second or even 2 or 3, and get a nice smooth look on the water. Everything else is perfectly still, so it’s sharp and in focus, and you have this beautiful smooth waterfall.


So putting together what we just learned. First, you’ll want to set your aperture to whatever you require for your photo, next you’ll want to set your shutter speed, depending on what moving objects you have in your photo, and Last… is ISO..  Which we will talk about next time 🙂


Find out how to adjust your shutter speed on your camera, and practice setting your aperture and your Shutter speed. Practice with different shutter speeds and see what happens. Feel free to comment below how it went.  Thank you for reading and I hope that this was helpful for you!! 🙂


Lesson 2 Lesson 4



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