The Basics of Shutter Speed

Shutter speed, alongside ISO and Aperture, form the backbone of photography, they are the first things to understand for folks going into photography and that goes to show how important these three are to photography. There is need to understand shutter speed, ISO, and aperture properly and how the three combine to produce great images.

The shutter is the part of a camera that opens to allow the passage of light when an image is being taken, it is simply like a curtain covering the camera’s image sensor and it only opens when the camera is fired and allowed light to pass through. The shutter only closes when the image sensor has done its part of collecting lights.

Shutter speed can best be explained as the duration a camera shutter stays open to allow the camera’s image sensor gather light. The shutter speed produces a different result when it is fast and slow and the results, either way, are important to photographers. When the shutter speed is fast, it produces a freeze effect and when slow, a motion blur effect is created.

The freeze effect caused by fast shutter speed can be used to capture an object moving very quickly, for example, a bird moving very fast. In the image produced, the bird is captured looking frozen, this is also useful when trying to capture an athlete in motion. The effect of the slow shutter speed is even more dramatic; it is often used to show the movement of an object with a blurred effect and such effect comes in handy for an advert on a moving vehicle, the wheels of the vehicle appear blur to give a sense of movement. For landscape photography, slow shutter speed is use to give waterfall a sense of motion as the water falls in with a foggy thick flow and this makes images look great and unique.

Shutter speed on most digital camera can be as slow as thirty seconds and as fast as 1/8000 second. It is worth mentioning that shutter speed is usually not measured in whole numbers but in fractions.

When taking pictures in very slow shutter speed, the skill of hand-holding a camera very well comes in very handy to avoid too much blur as a result of shaky hands, however, powerful cameras come with unique image stabilization feature to help stabilize images taken with long shutter speed and reduce blur greatly.

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