Canon Mode Dial

Slow Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed

To keep this a simple as possible, shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter is open.

Hello my name is Geo. I imagine your first thought is who am I in the world of photography. Well, I am nobody famous, just an average guy whose passion is photography. With my passion for photography I would like to embark on a journey of exploring the secrets of fantabulous photography with you, the reader.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds and fractions of a second. The majority of your shooting will be in the fractions. 1/1000 is a much faster shutter speed than 1/30 of a second. The photography industry has set 1/50 of a second as a standard for the slowest speed you should hand hold a camera, any speed slower than 1/50 you should use a tripod. Consider this more of a guideline and not carved in stone. Using a lens with image stabilization it is quite possible to get away with shooting at 1/15. This greatly depends on the situation and how steady the photographers hands are. In a situation where a tripod is not handy, I use any thing I can to steady my hand: a chair, fence or even a car.

Shooting in Tv Mode (Shutter Priority) (Tv:Canon) (S:Nikon) as per my Canon example on the right.

The Shutter Priority mode on your camera is a semi-manual mode operation. While in Shutter Priority mode you may choose the shutter speed and the ISO. Your camera will choose the F-stop. You also have control over the white balance, metering and picture style. I suggest since you are in the process of learning to shoot in manual modes that you leave your camera in the evaluative metering mode, AWB (auto white balance) and standard picture style settings. These settings actually all do very well. Once you are more advanced you may venture into these settings and learn your options.

A fast shutter speed say 1/1000 of a second would freeze most subjects. The photo on the right is one I took at our state fair. It was at night and I used a very slow shutter speed. I had to use a post to steady my hand while the shutter was open. With a slower shutter speed you get movement or blur, that is if anything moves while the shutter is open.

Thank you for listening, Geo Beck.