Shutter Speed Examples
How shutter speed affects your images with plenty or real-world examples.
Make sure your checkout my brand-new in depth article The Ultimate Guide to Shutter Speed in Photography for many more tips!
I’m going to first look at some of the images that are in the Essential Skills Course and then we’ll look at some other examples that I’ve created in the past just to clarify what shutter speed does – and how you can totally change the impact your images have by adjusting the shutter speed
Watch this video…
Highlights from this video:
0:34 Shutter speed : 1/500 sec
0:46 Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
1:05 Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
1:20 Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec
1:39 Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec
2:15 More shutter speed image examples
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec (freezing motion)
The first one is a photo of Wesley. I photographed it at 1/500 sec, which is a pretty fast shutter speed when you’re photographing portraits.
Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec (blurring motion – creative)
The last one is 1/8 sec. I wanted to see how slow a shutter-speed I could go when I was photographing my son jumping off that wall. You’ll notice there’s a lot of movement here. It’s quite an interesting image. It’s showing him blurred, jumping, and there is a little bit of sharpness in his body, but it’s a pretty slow shutter speed.
More examples of Shutter Speed and where to use it to make an impact!
Let’s take a look at the few others images that I’ve taken in the past.
Underwater Shot in Samoa – 1/8000 sec (freezing motion)
This is an underwater shot that I’ve photographed in Samoa. It’s a wave breaking a barrel. I’m shooting this at 1/8000 sec. I’m shooting at a very fast shutter speed because I want to capture the moving wave and I want to make it freeze in motion.
Wind Surfer – 1/2000 sec (action photography)
The next one is a wind surfer. This was taken down at the beach where I live. Here I have 1/2000 sec. It’s a very fast shutter speed. When you’re photographing sports and action, faster shutter speeds are better because then you can freeze the action. You can see he’s frozen in the air, the wave at the background is frozen. Even the water droplets are frozen. That’s how you capture sports.
Woman on a Horse – 1/2000 sec (moving portrait)
Even when you’re photographing portrait and movement, you need to photograph at a relatively fast shutter speed. Here’s another one that I photographed at 1/2000 sec because this horse was running towards me and I want to freeze the subject.
Sunset – 1/2000 (long lens – stop camera shake)
This sunset is also photographed at 1/2000 sec. The reason I did that was I had a very long lens. I had a 400 mm lens and I wanted to use the rule where you should photograph at least 1/400 sec with a 400 mm lens. I just went a little bit faster on this one. So, a faster shutter speed is better when you have a long lens.
Family Portrait – 1/1250 sec (moving portraits – freezing motion)
Here’s a family portrait I photographed. The kids running up the beach. This was also photographed at a fast shutter speed at 1/1250 sec because the kids are running towards me and I want to freeze that motion.
Aerial Shot – 1/250 sec (moving helicopter & vibrations)
Here’s another one that I photographed up at a helicopter. This time I have a relatively wide angle lens. I was photographing at 17mm, but I still photographed at 1/250 sec. Why did I do that? Because there’s a lot of movement when you’re in a helicopter – you’re moving pretty fast through the air, the ground is moving fast underneath you, and there’s a lot of shaking in the helicopter. There’s also the wind because the pilot removed the door for me, so there’s a lot of wind coming in to the cabin.
Brooke – 1/200 sec (zoom lens – stop camera shake)
Here’s a photograph of my daughter, Brooke. When I photographed this portrait, it was a little bit dark and the sun had gone, I photographed at 1/200 sec because I was photographing on a relatively long lens – 160 mm. I did that to make sure that she’s sharp and that there are no movements because I am not on a tripod.
Bull Riding – 1/30 sec (creative with moving subject)
So now we’re going to a slower shutter speed. I purposely photographed this guy riding a bull when we were travelling around Australia. I wanted to experiment with what the image would look like. I photographed this moving image at 1/30 sec. Part of the rider as well as the tail are still, which is great. Part of the bull is in motion, so it shows blurring. The reason I did this was I wanted to show movement in the image. I didn’t want to Freeze it.
The Ultimate Guide to Shutter Speed in Photography
Moving Water & Cascades – 8 sec (movement in water – milky look)
This is at 8 sec shutter speed. Why did I use a very slow shutter speed? Well, I wanted to show the bubbles on the water moving. If you actually photograph this at 1/30 sec, you wouldn’t get any movement of the bubbles. You also wouldn’t get that nice milky look of the waterfalls. It came out really well.
Ocean – 30 seconds (cloud movement – long exposure)
Here’s one that’s shot at 30 seconds. The reason I did that was because I wanted to get cloud movement. So, the clouds are moving. I’ve got my camera on a tripod so that my it remains still and I can get those longer exposures at 30 seconds.
If this Long Exposure interests you – then checkout the following course:
Sea Waves – 61 sec (long exposure)
Here’s one that I photographed at 61 sec. The reason I did that was I wanted to show the milky, clean look of the waves hitting the rocks. The waves are crashing in and then rolling back. At 61 sec, this area shows a really nice, artsy image and the clouds are moving, too.
Cloud Movement – 90 sec (arty long exposure)
Here’s one at 90 sec. I wanted to show cloud movement and I converted this to black and white because I wanted to show a nice, artsy image.
Ocean Sunset – 181 sec (very long exposure)
I think this is the longest one I’ve got over here. This is at 181 sec exposure – that’s a very Long Exposure image. The reason I did that is I wanted to show cloud movement and I wanted the waves coming in and out to just be really still to show a nice, calming image.
So those are some great examples of shutter speeds. I’ve gone from fastest at 1/8000 sec all the way down to 181 sec long-exposure. I hope that clarifies what shutter speed does. Whether you want to freeze a subject or you want to show movement, it’s up to you.
Hope you enjoyed this lesson. Please leave your comments below and I’ll get back to you. Brent
Did you enjoy this article? Check out these related articles, too:
- The Ultimate Guide to Shutter Speed in Photography
Shutter Speed and Photography: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know
- Rules For Shutter Speeds
Typical rules for using shutter speeds in photography
- Shutter Speed Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
How to avoid common shutter speed mistakes in your photography
Do This Now
Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent
Hey Brent! Good tutorial! But I have to make a correction (If you want to call it that): The very first photo (right after the video, where the kid is running) It cannot be at 1/500. Unless the kid was running extremely fast (really fast). In fact, panning is a normal shutter speed (or regular). In a way, It’s almost like the contradiction of fast shutter speed (almost!). The photo you present is panning! The motion blur is more accurate to speeds like 1/200 or less… You, most probably know a lot more of photography than me but I know a few things about panning and panning a person?… You can’t use 1/500. There wouldn’t be any motion blur… Perhaps you made a mistake. It happens.
You’re totally right Roy, my mistake for putting the wrong image in there. That image is shot at 1/60 sec shutter speed. The 1/500 sec shot should be frozen in time. Thanks for letting me know. Cheers, Brent
Thank you so much, I am on a learning curve and appreciated all your examples at various shutter speeds Brent.
Thanks Irene – glad you liked it. Brent
Glad you like it Alisa
Thank you so much for such a clear, concise and helpful little tutorial Brent! Lovely examples and quick and to the point. I love your tutorials–great stuff, great value!
I love the clarity of your teaching method Brent – thanks for sharing your amazing talent. Do you ever come to New Zealand and conduct live classes?
Thanks Tessa. We were in NZ a month or so ago – love the place. Maybe next time. Brent
Thank you for a very interesting session.
Although lots of similar photographs have been shown around in books, mags etc but your pics are likely to stay in the viewers’ minds because of the way you explain your reasons for taking them in the way you do.
Please keep up the goodwill you have established so far among the photographic farternity.
With best wishes
Reshpal (retired: IIP, C&G photo.)
Too helpful writeup for a beginner like me. Thanks a ton!
Keep on educating
Glad you like it Nagesh
Gosto muito de ver ao seus vídeos que são muito educativos, fáceis de aprendizagem.
Um Abraço Simões
No worries Jose – glad you like them. Brent
Thanks! & great video
thank you.. you have put it all into perspective …
Pleasure Hope. B
Thank you Brent – this is a very good explanation and something to go out and try … Whoo Hooo !!!
No worries Helena. B