The Basics #2} Understanding Shutter Speed

So we talked about the importance of Aperture in exposing a photos but just to recap the smaller your F stop number, the smaller area of your photo will be in focus like F 1.2.  The bigger your number like F 22 the more of your photo will be in focus.  So now shutter speed.  Your shutter speed you choose can also decide what may or may not be blurry or in focus.

ISO 100

These pictures are taken at midday so it's super bright outside.  Because I wanted motion blur I made my shutter speed slow.  The 1/15 means the shutter open and closed 1/15th of a second.  That is slow considering that my camera can take a picture 1/8000 fast.  So a lot of light came through to the sensor but again it's midday so to compensate for all that light from my shutter being open so long I had to make my aperture smaller, bigger number, less light.  Are you guys getting the aperture concept of bigger number smaller aperture?  Let me know if I need to explain that better!  Then I told my subjects to run and I focused behind them.  I was hand holding the camera so I still have blur in the background.  If I had rested my camera on something or used a tripod the background would be completely in focus but you do not move your camera with your subject.  Keep your camera as still as possible letting your subjects move in front of you.

F 11
ISO 100

With the shutter faster my aperture getting wider, my subjects are still blurry but not one big blur and my hand held shakes are pretty good.

F 6.3
ISO 100

So now my shutter speed is a lot faster and still not hugely fast like 1,8000 but doesn't necessarily need to be.  My aperture is now at 6.3.


Panning is where you follow your subjects as they run or move and you get them in focus while in movement and the background is blurred to give your subjects that action feel.  To get the big blur in the background start with a slower shutter speed again causing a smaller aperture and focus on your subject, and follow them as they move.  So I focused and kept my camera trained on my subject as she ran by.  If I wanted less of a blurry background I would make my shutter speed faster however you still are moving your camera so there will always be motion.

Again I hope another explanation helped you understand shutter speed a little better and suggestions and comments are always appreciated.


  1. When I first read the title to this post I thought, "Psh, I know about shutter speed, I can skip this post!" But I'm glad I read it and you wrote it, because I didn't know about keeping my camera focused on the background to get only the subject blurry OR about panning. Thanks for the info!! Love your blog!!!

  2. Me too. Thanks so much The shutter speed always confuses me. Need to work on some exercises and keep reading this post.