{Photography} Shutter Speed Basics In Manual Mode

 Last week I talked about aperture and now I want to talk about shutter speed.  Basically the shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open when taking a picture.  The longer the shutter stays open, the more light is let in.  I added this picture of the top of my camera again to show you where the shutter speed it located.  It is controlled by the Rear Dial.  In this picture, the shutter speed is set at 20 which is 1/20 and means the shutter will be open for one twentieth of a second or .05.
The shutter is like drapes on a window that open and close to let light in.  When I press the shutter button to take a picture, I hear a click that is actually 2 clicks…one is the sound of the shutter opening and one is the sound of the shutter closing.  When the shutter is open for a longer time, I can hear one click when I press the button and the second click a bit later when the shutter closes.
I don’t usually set my shutter speed first because I am usually more worried about the aperture (small opening ~ small focus area & large opening ~ large focus area) which is basically like aperture priority in manual mode.  But there are times when I set the shutter speed first.  For example, slowing down the shutter speed can convey movement in the picture.  The shutter speed was set at 1/30 meaning the shutter was open for one thirtieth of a second or .033.

A fast shutter speed can be used to stop action.  You can get a picture of your child jumping in the air.  The shutter speed was set at 1/200 meaning the shutter was open for one two hundredth of a second or .005.
If I am trying to take picture at night, I will use a very slow shutter speed to let as much light in as possible.  But to do this I need my tripod because the camera needs to be still the entire time the shutter is open.  When I took this picture, the shutter speed was set at 30 meaning the shutter was open for 30 seconds!
Have you seen the pictures of flowing water where the water is white and has a cotton candy look?  That is achieved with a slow shutter speed and a tripod.  This picture isn’t the best example of that effect but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about.  I did not have my tripod with me when I took this photo so I my camera on my camera bag which was on a rock.  My husband has taken some really awesome water pictures but I haven’t messed around with this one much yet.  The shutter speed was 1/10 meaning the shutter was open for one tenth of a second or .1.

When you adjust the shutter speed you have to adjust the aperture at the same time and vice versa.  That is where using your meter to help you take pictures comes in. It is how I always take photos in manual mode.  And that is what I am going to talk about next week but I had to explain aperture and shutter speed first so that it will make sense.  Hopefully, it will be an ahh-ha moment for you so make sure you come back to check it out!


Check find my other photography posts here.
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Comments

  1. Hello, I just want to ask, why does my pictures turn dark when my shutter speed is fast. Can you explain?

  2. Great information! I’m forcing myself to figure out all the other features on my camera … it’s overwhelming to me but I really want better quality photos. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  3. Love this series! I’ve graduated to aperture priority setting thanks to your help :)

  4. Thanks for the great info!

  5. Thanks for the information. Always looking to improve my photography skills. Linda

  6. That’s fantastic information Tonia, thank you. Now, can you come over and give me a one-on-one lesson. I need someone to hold the camera for me and take the pics!

    Anne xx

  7. Awesome! You have so much knowledge to share about using your camera, and I SO appreciate it!

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