In this guide, we’ll explain how shutter speed works. And, how to choose the right one for your shot.
The three things that will determine your exposure are film speed, aperture and shutter speed. The speed of the film dictates how much light the film needs. The aperture controls how much light comes through the lens. And the shutter speed then controls how much of that light hits the film. These three things always work together to produce your image.
The shutter speed, sometimes known as exposure time, determines the amount of time your film is exposed to light when taking a photograph. So, you always need to balance your aperture and shutter speed to get a correct exposure.
The general rule is you need to shoot with at least 1/60 to get sharp images when shooting handheld. It is best to use a tripod if you want to shoot with a slower exposure time as this will help reduce any camera shake.
Fast speeds are really good for freezing fast-moving subjects. You need to make sure you are using a fast exposure time if you are trying to take a sharp image of a fast subject. Different cameras have different options but commonly you can choose something like 1/500.
Higher ISO film will also allow you to utilise the faster shutter speeds as they are more sensitive to light.
Slow shutter speeds will visibly record motion. They are often used to create the effect of motion in an image. A moving subject captured with a slow exposure time will be captured as a blur across the image. Slow exposure times
Be careful when using slow exposures without a tripod. The slower the shutter the more likely that you will have visible camera shake in the image.
Reading Shutter Speeds
Typical shutter speeds you will see are; 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500.
If you’re new to film then read our Beginners Guide To Film Photography.