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The Beginner’s Guide to Shutter Speed April 13, 2020

Crescent Springs, Covington
The Beginner’s Guide to Shutter Speed, Covington, Kentucky

When it comes to starting a photography hobby or profession, the first step is mastering your camera. Understanding the function of the shutter speed helps you take improved photos and become a more skilled photographer. Here’s some basic pointers a beginner needs to know about this feature.

Why Shutter Speed Matters

Shutter speed refers to the amount of time, in seconds, the shutter of the camera stays open while taking a picture. This contributes to the exposure of the photo, where the shutter can allow in more or less light. In most cases, photos are taken in a fraction of a second to capture the subject in motion. While using automatic mode can easily capture images, changing shutter speed can create a variety of artistic effects.

How do You Control It

cameraTo adjust your shutter speed, first switch your camera mode to manual. Shutter-priority auto (S) is an option for Nikon® cameras, and time value (TV) mode works for a Canon®.

Look for a dial or pair of arrows to change the numbers to the desired shutter speed. The higher the speed, the less light the camera lets in. For instance, setting your camera to 1/1000th of a second takes photos faster than 1/60th.

When It's Useful

Shutter speed is particularly useful when you want to play with motion. The slower the shutter speed, the blurrier the photo. People generally don’t want to take blurry pictures, but in certain situations, this can produce interesting visual effects. For example, using a slower speed on a river or waterfall creates a soft, continuously flowing image. Slower shutter speeds often require image stabilization or a tripod.

To clearly capture an object in motion, such as a race car or running dog, use a quicker shutter speed—1/500th of a second or faster. The correct shutter speed depends upon your desired effects, distance from the subject, lighting, and motion. With practice, you can take beautiful, creative shots that are sure to impress.


Becoming a proficient photographer starts with picking up the proper equipment at K & R Photographics. This high-end digital camera store offers a carefully vetted selection of top-quality cameras from trusted brands like Hasselblad, Nikon, and Canon. For over 40 years, their experienced staff has helped professionals and amateurs throughout the Cincinnati Tri-State area find the optimal photo equipment for their unique needs. Visit them online to browse available brands and products. To learn more about their services, call (859) 341-6986.

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