Written by on July 26 2016

​Shutter Speed 101: Capturing Motion

Shutter speed is the amount of time a camera’s shutter is exposed to light. In photography, speed is measured in seconds and fractions of a second. Understanding how your camera’s shutter speed work can dramatically improve the quality of your images and ideas you would like to express.

The chart below illustrates how movement is captured based on your camera’s shutter speed settings. A high shutter speed (1/1000 fraction of a second) will freeze action, while a low shutter speed (½ of a second) will create a blurred motion quality to the action that is being photograph.

For beginning photographers, we recommend setting your camera’s shutter speed to high and low speed to distinguish the effect it has on your photographs. Use the chart provided to determine high and low shutter speeds.

High Shutter Speed = Freeze Action

A high shutter speed is commonly used in sport or action photography. Using high shutter speeds allows photographers to slow down or freeze the action that is taking place.


Low Shutter Speed = Blurred Motion

A low shutter speed allows your camera to capture the motion and movement of your subject. Photographers use a slow shutter speed to slow down an action. Depending on how low your shutter speed is, you can obtain amazing photographs such as the erratic form of fireworks or the smooth picturesque form of running water.


Experimenting with high and low shutter speeds is just the beginning! Your camera is capable of so much more when it comes to shutter speeds. We find the best way to understanding shutter speed is by capturing the same action with various shutter speeds.


The process will take time but the understanding you obtain through these simple exercises will result in spectacular photographs. Enjoy! 

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