How to Use Shutter Speed

Learning how to use shutter speed can take your photography to the next level, allowing you to create beautiful stylized images of nature or capturing the intensity of high-speed moments.

Watch below how Chris Burkard uses shutter speed in his photos, then read on to see more detail about working with different speeds.

What Shutter Speed is: The amount of time the camera shutter is open while taking a photo, exposing light to to sensor.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. The larger the denominator, the faster the speed (for example, 1/4000 is faster than 1/30).

When considering what shutter speed to use in an image you should always ask yourself whether anything in your scene is moving and how you want to capture it.

Use a faster shutter speed (1/200 - 1/4000) while shooting fast-moving subjects to freeze the subjects in motion.


Slower shutter speeds (1/15 - 15 seconds) add motion blur to a photo.


If you’re using a shutter speed slower than 1/60 you will need to either use a tripod or another kind of stabilization.

Use a shutter speed of 15 seconds to capture stunning nighttime photos.


For more on shutter speed, check out Chris's class Outdoor Photography: Shooting at Sunset, Sunrise, and Night on Skillshare!