Home Photography Lessons Beginner Shutter Speed Settings

Shutter Speed Settings

Setting Shutter Speed

Your shutter speed controls how long your shutter stays open for an exposure. If you have a lot of light on a subject, the shutter closes fast, if you have low light, the shutter speed is slow. it’s pretty straight forward, but if you want more help understanding it, take a look at our introduction guide to shutter speed. Either that, or take a look at this instructional video on shutter speed from Nikon School.

The faster the shutter speed, the sharper your images. Have you ever taken a picture of your kid wiggling and gotten a very blurry arm or leg, or whole body? That is a slower shutter speed where the object was moving faster than the shutter could open and close.

Shutter Speed SettingsTake for example this super fast kung foo baby- notice the blur in the last frame? A slightly faster shutter speed would have made that clear, but in this case the motion was emphasized by using a slightly slower shutters speed.

Shutter Speed Exercise

Try setting your camera to shutter speed priority. Have a kid or a spouse or a crazy neighbor pose for you and wiggle around. Start at a slower shutter speed, maybe 1/25. Take the picture and repeat, increasing your shutter speed. Do you notice that the picture is slightly blurred, becoming increasingly sharp the faster your shutter speed? If you can see the information on the photo, notice how the camera has compensated for the different shutter speeds by adjusting the aperture.

Next – Lesson 7: Aperture Setting


  1. Just getting started on these lessons is there any were we can post pics of like the weekley assignments and the exercises that we practice

  2. Good morning, I started your course today and I am still a little bewildered about the difference between ISO and aperture, I have a Nikon 3200 and a Canon T5i and the settings for these two seem to me to be so different. How can I set both so that I get the quality shots I would like to get. I am currently a New Media Technology student and these are things I do believe I need to know, can you help me?

  3. Hi..

    Is it at all possible to control aperture & shutter speed on mobile camera’s?

    I have a Sony Xperia Z1, if there is any software or tweak by which we can do it, please let me know

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. how do I change the shutter speeds? Iknow if the subject is moving fast I need a fast shutter speed but I don’t know how to change it. Please help!

  5. If you want to change the aperture setting you have to take it out of shutter priority (Tv) and set it in aperture priority (Av). If you have it on shutter priority, it will set the aperture automatically, if you have it on aperture priority, it will set the shutter speed automatically. It you want control of both, leave the camera set on Manual (M).

  6. Ali – on my camera (Canon EOS Rebel XSi), when you are working in shutter priority setting and you change the shutter speed, the camera will automatically change the f number for you based on a few factors: the shutter speed you are trying to use, your ISO setting and the amount of light in the room metered off your subject.

    If you are set to a certain shutter speed, for example 1/320 and the f number is flashing, it means the f number (or current aperture setting) at that shutter speed will not work with the current lighting conditions or with the ISO speed that is currently set on your camera. So, what you may have been “doing wrong” is that you had the ISO setting too low (ISO = 100 to 800) for a faster shutter speed setting that was being dialed in at that time.

    For me, setting the ISO to automatic may help the situation or working at a higher ISO setting when I’m in a darker room. The ISO page on this website helped me with this. Although I learned about the “flashing ‘f’ number” on my camera through my user’s manual. Not sure if this is helpful or not or pertains to your type of camera. I’m not a professional or an administrator on this website – just learning like the rest of us on this wonderful site. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi, I am using shutter priority auto setting. I am able to change the shutter speed but not the aperature (f number) and in the display the f number is flashing. What am I doing wrong ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thanks so much for this photography course which i’ll try to complete before my trip to the Grand Canyon in the summer. I have found some of the information truly useful. I think I can take pretty good photographs, but this is based on pure luck and not having an idea about the basics of photography. I have many books and found them overwhelming and this is the first time I’ve started understanding the theory! So thanks again for such valuable information.

  9. Thank you on so much great information, I am learning a lot. I am hoping to open up my own photography studio one day as I love taking pictures!

  10. When i increase the Shutter Speed to lets say 1/320 and I’m in a room with limited light, so i’ve set the ISO to 3600. The picture still turns out dark, or almost black. what am i doing wrong? ๐Ÿ™‚


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