What you need to know
- It works with aperture and ISO to determine the exposure of a picture.
- It can freeze or blur motion.
What it is
Just like the shutter on a window it opens to let in light. It’s typically placed immediately in front of the sensor. Shutter Speed is just the length of time it’s open.
Shutter Speed is what makes photography unique. If you had a choice from all media to share a story the reason why you would choose photography would be because of the camera’s shutter speed.
There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment. Cardinal de Retz made famous by Cartier-Bresson
Remember our example of a garden hose being used to fill up the bucket. In this analogy shutter speed is the amount of time the facet is open.
As Shutter Speed gets longer more light is let in and the more exposure the image is.
It’s measured as a unit of time; 30sec, 2 sec, 1/2sec, 1/100 sec, 1/4000 sec.
On a camera display the units and nominator are removed so that it looks like this; 30, 2, 2, 100, 4000.
“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” Cartier-Bresson
An extremely fast shutter speed will freeze motion.
At slower speed you can show motion.
You’ll see more motion blur for faster objects and objects that are moving perpendicular to the camera.
Here’s a great short video from someone else explaining Shutter Speed.
This article discusses how you can use this knowledge to get your pictures in focus.
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