What is it?
Your camera has a door that opens to let in light; by controlling how long the door is open it can control how much light comes into your camera, and therefore how light or dark or your photo is.
Shutter Speed is how long the door is open.
How do I use it on my camera?
Depending on the make and model of camera you have, by using the S or Tv mode on your camera dial or menu, you can select the Shutter Speed that you want the photo to be taken at. The camera will then set the Aperture to maintain the correct exposure. You can use the main scroll or menu to change the Shutter Speed. Your camera is likely to have a range of 30” to 4000 or (1/4000th), this is 30 seconds to 1/4000th of a second. It may also have “Bulb” or faster than 1/4000th. I will leave “Bulb” and Long Exposures to another Blog post.
What does it do to my pictures?
The longer the shutter is open, the more that the objects that are moving in your pictures will blur. So to freeze your subject in time you will need to use a quick shutter speed. To blur your subject you will need to use a longer shutter speed. Tip: if you are trying to capture your kids on a swing, you will need to use a faster shutter speed than 1/250th.
Slow Shutter: the cars are so blurred they are not visible. All you can see is their headlights / tail lights.
Set your camera to Shutter Priority mode. Using a garden hose or sprinkler, take a picture at 1/1000th and see what happens to the water.
Next, take a series of pictures of the same object, changing the shutter speed after each photo. Note how your pictures are changing. What else is changing when taking these pictures? Feel free to leave your comments on this post.