Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is a fundamental aspect of photography that, once understood, can transform the way you capture images. This guide will simplify shutter speed for users of Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Shutter Speed Simplified

Shutter speed determines how long your camera's sensor is exposed to light. It's measured in seconds or fractions of a second, like 1/100 or 30 seconds. Fast shutter speeds bring in less light and freeze motion, while slower speeds allow more light and capture the movement as blur.

The Range of Shutter Speeds

Modern cameras offer a wide range of shutter speeds to suit any lighting condition or creative vision, typically from a slow 30 seconds to a fast 1/8000th of a second.

Fast Shutter Speeds: Stop Time in Its Tracks

Shutter speeds from 1/1000th to 1/8000th of a second are perfect for freezing fast action without blur. Use these speeds for sports, wildlife, or any scene where clarity and detail are key.

Slow Shutter Speeds: Embrace Motion

Slow speeds like 15 to 30 seconds let in plenty of light, ideal for night photography or creating blur for artistic effect. They can add drama to landscapes or capture the beauty of star trails.

Practical Tips for Shutter Speed

To get the most out of your camera's shutter speed settings, consider what you're trying to capture. For crisp action shots, go fast. For smooth waterfalls or light trails, slow it down.

Throughout my photography career, adjusting shutter speed has been key to capturing the mood of a moment, whether that's the stillness of a bird in flight or the rush of a city street.


Understanding and utilizing the right shutter speed can dramatically improve your photography. It's not just about the gear—whether you're using a Canon, Nikon, or Sony, what matters most is how you use the shutter speed to tell your story.