One of my favorite sound when taking pictures is the ch-ch, but have you ever wondered what the little “ch-ch” sound is? It’s the shutter opening and closing, capturing that winning goal, that special moment, or what you are eating for lunch on “film.” Ok so most of us are not using film anymore, but our camera cards act like our film today. Why is shutter speed important and what is shutter speed mean?
I’m glad you asked, shutter speed is the amount of time your shutter is open. Let’s make this a little more relatable, think of your eye. When your eye is open, its like the shutter, capturing and recording everything happening in front of you. The only difference is you are creating a memory playing the whole scene like a video, the camera is capturing everything into one snapshot or freeze frame image, that will help you remember the memory at a later time.
So, now that we have a better understanding of what the shutter does, why is it important to our picture? The shutter’s speed will either give you a frozen in time look or movement in your picture, depending on how fast or slow it is. A faster shutter speed is the fastest speed you can have that will freeze the action. We see this many times in sport photography, freezing that moment of scoring a goal or diving into a pool. A slower shutter speed will give you movement, like we see in car and motorcycle pictures. The blurred lines while the subject is in focus, makes us think they are going fast. A slower speed also allows you to shoot at night.
How do you know the speed in which your shutter will fire? If you are looking through your viewfinder, it will be along the bottom showing something like 1/500, meaning the camera’s sensor sees light for 1/500th of a second, if you are using a slower shutter speed you will see 1” meaning 1 second. As you are shooting you also want to be thinking about your triangle settings focusing on the aperture setting, since shutter speed and aperture play with each other while capturing that special amazing moment.
Tonya Moken is the owner of TLM Productions, LLC, a business focusing on you in South Jersey and Philadelphia. Please call TLM Productions’ Tonya Moken at 609.440.6176 or email her at tonya.moken@TLMproductions.com for a project quote or photography lessons today!