Exercise using shutter speeds

Exercise using shutter speeds

The goal is to help you decide what shutter speed to use.


As mentioned in Shutter Speeds & f/stops 101, shutter speeds control how long the light strikes the film/sensor.  That is only one side of what shutters do. Shutter speeds can convey a sense of motion by using a a slower than normal time, that results in a blurred image, or part of an image. Take for example a water fall, at a fast shutter speed of 1/200 of a second, the water is sharp and is frozen in time. But, slow the shutter speed down to 4 seconds, and the water now is like a soft cloud of water falling over the edge or rocks.


As a self project, go to an area that has a flowing water fall or a stream that has moving water.  This can be a local park, or even some hotels have a water fall or other moving water structure.

I picked water because it is readily available to find and shows the various results quickly.

  • Set you camera on a tripod, and place your exposure on “S” (Shutter Priority).
  • Set your ISO the lowest ISO it has.
  • Frame you subject
  • Start with 1/200s shutter speed as your start point.
  • Take out you note pad and write down the file # as  your 1st exposure is at 1/200s
  • Move to 1/100s (1/125s) and write down that file # is at 1/100s (1/125s)
  • Continue down the shutter speeds until you get as slow as 20 seconds (if you can).
  • When you get home, upload them in your editing software and view then at full screen.
  • Study each one and note how the shutter speeds effects the water.
  • You may like a few effects… great, the idea is build a memory of a few effects you like. So you can set up the picture you want by memory.