Photography Tip Tuesday – Shutter Speed

This week’s Photography Tip Tuesday is obviously a couple days late. Sorry about that! I took a short hiatus from Facebook to catch up on editing and some business stuff. But I’m back now and have lots to catch up with!

Last week was all about aperture and you can find that post here –> This week is all about shutter speed and is also part 2 of 3 blog posts about how to create the perfect exposure triangle! This is one of my favorite ways to completely change the look and feel of a photo! By changing the shutter speed you can create a very balanced and evenly lit portrait or you can emphasize directional light (think silhouettes!). Below is an example from Katie and Michael’s maternity session. In the image on the left, I exposed for their skin (1/500th of a second since the sun was so intense and because my aperture was pretty open at f/2.8), which made the image evenly lit without any drastic shadows. The image on the right is exposed for the sky. When I exposed for the sky (1/4000th of a second with an aperture of f/2.5), it made everything else in the image darken down creating the silhouette of Katie! The slower your shutter speed the more light will be allowed in. When your shutter speed is faster, less light will come in.

Exposure Silhouette

Another very important aspect of shutter speed is creating a crisp focus on your subject. This morning I went out and shot my dogs (with my Canon… wait that still doesn’t… nevermind!) to show the difference between a slow and fast shutter speed. In the image on the top, my shutter speed was 1/1000th of a second with an aperture of f/3.2. This was fast enough to capture the dogs playing without any blur. In the image on the bottom, my shutter speed was 1/30th of a second with an aperture of f/9 (I had to close down on my aperture so too much light didn’t come into my lens and blow out the image). You can see her tail is moving and blurry and really the entire image appears soft. One rule to go by is to always have a shutter speed at least the length of your lens. So I was shooting with an 85mm on a full frame camera. This means to photograph a still object and avoid any camera shake from my hands my shutter speed should be no less than 1/125th of a second (since 125 is the closest shutter speed option to 85). I like to take this rule a step further and double it! However, I was shooting very fast moving subjects and decided 1/1000th was the appropriate speed for this scenario.

Shutter speed dogs

I hope this was helpful and answers some of your shutter speed questions! As always, please let me know if you have any questions! Next week we will be finishing the 3 part exposure triangle series with ISO!

Elopement Photographer, couple stands atop canyon wall in the wilderness


Boom! You made it and the adventures that come next will be unforgettable! We are Vannessa and Coleman, the two-person photography team here to take you on some amazing adventures whether that’s backpacking into a remote vista, climbing some cascade peaks, or getting sandy on a coastal beach, were already in and want you to come with!