Introduction: Use Shutter Speed in a DSLR

DSLRs come with a lot of additional features that many new photographers are not aware of. If taken off of automatic mode, they allow for the photographer to take much more control over their shooting than they normally would compared to a point-and-shoot or a cellphone camera. One of those features is the Shutter Speed.

Step 1: What Is the Shutter Speed?

The shutter is a device/flap that opens and closes to expose the light to the sensor. Shutter speed often refers to how long the shutter stays open to expose the light to the sensor. Knowing that, the longer the shutter stays open, the more light your sensor is exposed to.

Step 2: Setting the Mode and Adjusting Shutter Speed

In order to make this tutorial easy, we are going to switch to Shutter Priority mode on our DLSR. In the case of Nikon or other non-Canon brands, you will be able to find an equivalent mode on your camera. What this mode does is allows for you to adjust the shutter speed while the camera would adjust the other settings (aperature, ISO, etc.) to compensate for your aperture changes. This would take a lot of the guesswork out of this tutorial and let us focus on just the shutter speed.

Scrolling using the scroll wheel, you would find that the shutter speed is changing. This is evident as the shutter speed on your camera is changing. For example, it changes from 1/800 to 1/400, etc. The lower the number, the less light is let in and the darker the image is (due to the less time that the light is allowed to reach the sensor). The higher the number, the more light is let in and the brighter the image.

Another way to think about it is the faster the shutter speed, the clearer moving objects will look while the slower the shutter speed, the blurrier moving subjects will look. If executed correctly, this can be used to create cool drawings with light or make a busy highway look empty!

Step 3: Conclusion

That’s it! The lesson to take away is the higher the shutter speed, the faster the shutter speed, the clearer moving objects will look while the slower the shutter speed, the blurrier moving subjects will look. To take this into the next level, put the camera into full manual and try to set each setting manually to compensate for the shutter speed!

TIP: Unless the camera is on a tripod or stable surface, you generally do not want the shutter any slower than 1/60 (e.g 1/5)

Comments

author
peteandoreen1 (author)2017-08-24

TIP: Unless the camera is on a tripod or stable surface, you generally do not want the shutter any faster than 1/60 / WRONG! Sorry you have your ISO and shutter speeds totally mixed up.

author
itstimofee (author)peteandoreen12017-08-24

Hi! Thanks for commenting. ISO does control the sensitivity of the sensor. I'm a general use case of capturing clear photos, having a shutter speed of 1/60 or slower will create blurry photos without a tripod.

The wording has been corrected. Thanks!

author
peteandoreen1 (author)2017-08-24

Well you managed to get that very wrong. 1/ Time Value on a Canon (Tv) 2/ Get your fact right = ISO controls the amount of light 400 less light 800 more light. BUT shutter speed is diferent the faster the shutter (the higher the number) = 1/1000 sec less light. 1/250 sec more light the shutter is open longer. If you go down to 1/1 the shutter is open for 1 sec and is good for water flow etc but you also need a tripod which is something you did not mention. Your examples, if you left your shutter open for 20sec your would get total highlight blowout (exposure) you would not get a picture.

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