Using the Best Techniques for Shutter Speed Photography

Today’s post focuses on photography techniques that will help you use the shutter speed both effectively and creatively. We hope this article will provide you with inspiration for a new day of work.

Shutter Speed Photography Techniques

Before getting into detail and discussing more complex aspects of shutter speed photography, let’s go back to the basics and see what shutter speed is and why it is essential to know how to use it for high quality photos. Shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera’s shutter is open when capturing an image. Also called exposure time, the shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second and seconds.

Shutter speed is one of the pillars of photography, along with ISO and Aperture. This means you cannot change one without affecting the other. A longer shutter speed increases the aperture and requires a lower ISO.

Now, as regards shutter speed photography techniques you should practice, we’ve chosen to give you some tips on panning and slow sync flash.


What it does: captures a subject in movement on a blurred background.

What you need to do:

  • Lower shutter speed around 1/30 or below.
  • Set your position parallel with the line traversed by your subject in movement.
  • Slightly move the camera along with the subject.
What you can achieve:

panning image achieved by using shutter speed photography techniques

Slow Sync Flash

What it does: Slow Sync Flash is a photography technique that combines the use of flash with a slow shutter speed. By using this function on your camera you can take a sharp shot of your subject and capture interesting light effects in the background. This feature found on most digital cameras allows you to make your flash photography a bit more interesting.

What you need to do:

  • Use the Slow Sync Flash function in low-light conditions (night shooting).
  • Avoid camera shake.
What you can achieve:

slow sync flash photo achieved by using shutter speed photography techniques

How to Capture Motion Blur Images

Motion blur images capture a sense of speed and can be achieved by using a slower thus long exposure time.

What you need:

  • A fast moving subject
  • A professional digital camera

How to do it:

Setting your shutter speed depends on how fast your subject is. For instance, for a good panning photo of a professional rider a shutter speed of 1/45 seconds would do the job.

Another important aspect to consider is the amount of light available to you. A slower shutter speed allows more light to get through your camera sensor. Too much light will overexpose your image, which is not something you want.

You have two options: either to set your camera on Manual Mode and experiment with different shutter speed settings, or to set your camera on Shutter Priority Mode. The second option allows you to choose a shutter speed value and the camera will automatically change the aperture and ISO number according to the shutter speed you’ve set. If you want to play it safe, Shutter Priority Mode is the right choice for you, but experimenting on Manual Mode will develop your photographic knowledge and might result in greater images.

How to Freeze the Moment with Fast Shutter Speed Photography

In shutter speed photography you either capture motion blur images or freeze the moment. In order to freeze movement, you need to set a faster shutter speed. The most popular subjects for freezing action photos are flying birds, sport athletes, water droplets. You often use fast shutter speed photography to achieve this look.

How to do it:

In freezing movement images, timing is the most important aspect to consider. As a fast shutter speed like 1/5 s (which is the fifth of a second) beats our time of reaction it is likely to miss the perfect moment.

What you need to do is anticipate when the subject will be placed in the position you want to capture and pre-focus near that location so as to avoid shutter lag.

Achieve Artistic Effects with Slow Shutter Speed Photography

Shutter speed photography techniques offer you the possibility to achieve creative effects. Are you curious as to how to convey an abstract touch to your shots during night? Here are some tips for stunning abstract streetlight images using slow shutter speed photography.

How to do it:

  • Find a busy location downtown or shoot from the window of your room if there’s something interesting to capture from there.
  • Slow down the shutter speed to at least 1/2 s.
  • Hold your camera by using a tripod or placing it on a solid surface.
  • Begin taking pictures of car and streetlights.

We recommend you to keep experimenting and exploring new creative photography techniques.

Image Sources: 1,2,3

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