Tag Archives: shutter speed

Shutter Speed + Water Movement

13 Dec

Although I previously posted a lesson about shutter speed, I also want to include a more specific lesson on how to control the outcome of a photo with moving water.

Now that you have learned the basics about shutter speed, this skill should be easy to comprehend and accomplish.

How you set the shutter speed depends on how you want the water to look in the photo.

Like all fast-moving objects, a quick shutter speed is needed to capture a specific movement without blurring it. The same goes for water.

For a clearer image of the water and to show a specific motion, set your camera to a quicker shutter speed:

1/90 shutter speed

1/90 shutter speed

1/60 shutter speed

1/60 shutter speed

1/45 shutter speed

1/45 shutter speed

For a smoother, flowy look, set the shutter speed to a slower setting to allow the camera to pick up more movement.

1/30 shutter speed

1/30 shutter speed

1/20 shutter speed

1/20 shutter speed

1/15 shutter speed

1/15 shutter speed 

Make sense? :)

The faster the shutter speed, the less light the camera lets in, so you may need to change the f-stop (aperture) to a larger circumferance to let more light through for a well-lit image. You can also use outside light sources, like lighting equipment.

In these photo examples, I had to make the f-stop larger for the faster shutter speeds because the sun was going down.

Make sure to use a tripod or hold your camera as still as possible so as to only catch the movements of the water.

Good luck with your water photos! Feel free to let me know if this blog was helpful and share your finished product with me.

Photos taken at the Capital University fountains in Columbus, Ohio.
All photos copyright Tori Metzger ©


Shutter Speed

12 Oct

When I first started using cameras, I did not fully understand how and when to change and use shutter speed. Once I began taking photography classes, it finally clicked. Shutter speed is not at all a difficult concept to understand, especially when explained correctly.

Shutter speed is read in the form of a fraction. As an example, I will use the shutter speed 1/8. This represents 1/8 of a second, which is how long your shutter/lens will stay open and let light through. So if your shutter speed is set at 1/60, your shutter/lens will stay open for 1/60 of a second. If it is set at 1/2000, your shutter/lens will stay open for 1/2000 of a second. Make sense so far?

Most Digital SLR cameras have a range of shutter speeds that vary between 30 seconds(“) and 1/4000. There are several intervals between these two speeds. From slowest to quickest speed, the intervals might progress like this: 30″, 20″, 15″, 10″ 8″, 6″, 4″, 3″, 2″, 1″, 0.7″, 0.5″, 0.3″, 1/4, 1,6, […..] 1/90, 1/125, 1/180, 1/250, […..] 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000.

It is easy to realize which shutter speed is quicker when looking at 20″ and 30”, but many people get confused when it comes to the fractions. When comparing the speeds 1/90 to 1/4000, although 4000 is a larger number than 90, it is the slower shutter speed. Just as if you were to divide one pizza into 90 slices and another pizza into 4000 slices, a slice from the pizza with 90 slices would be larger than your tiny slice from the pizza divided into 4000.

Shutter speed is one of three settings that control exposure, or how much light you let through the lens. The other two settings are ISO and aperture. These three settings all work together to determine the outcome of your photo, but we will get to the specifics in a later post.

These settings all control how bright or how dark your photo is. The slower your shutter speed is, the more light you let through the lens, and the brighter your photo will turn out. You will need to change your shutter speed depending on how dark or bright the lighting is in your setting.

Here is a simple example of a scene I shot at different shutter speeds.

1/250 shutter speed

1/500 shutter speed

1/1000 shutter speed

1/1500 shutter speed

1/2000 shutter speed

1/4000 shutter speed

As you will notice, photos with the shutter speed 1/4000 is too dark and shutter speeds 1/250 and 1/500 are too bright. 1/1000 is a little too bright, but could be used with a few adjustments in an editing program. Shutter speeds 1/1500 and 1/2000 would be best for this subject in this setting.


Any time you wish to control shutter speed manually on your camera it will need to be done under the Manual (M), Programmed Auto (P), or Shutter-Priority Auto (S) camera mode. All other modes have automatic settings or automatically adjust themselves. Though this is sometimes helpful, it is not always accurate. The best photographs are taken by a photographer who knows how to manually use each setting on his camera and use it well.