How To Use Manual Shutter Speed

From outside, to indoors, to action, calm scenes – Here's everything you need to know about using shutter speed.

C2 A5075

Manual Shutter Speed

The Moment Pro Camera App provides advanced features to mimic a DSLR in the palm of your hand. One of the most beloved tools is the shutter speed adjustment — a resource responsible for changing the brightness of your photos and creating exciting, dramatic effects with motion blur. Understanding the basic fundamentals of shutter speed is crucial for any beginner photographer, so let’s go over some essentials…

1/80 Moment App
1/1000 Moment App

How To Pick Your Shutter Speed

Defined at its most basic level, the “shutter speed” refers to the amount of time the camera’s shutter is open. Think of it as the length of time that your image sensor ‘sees’ the scene you’re attempting to capture. Easy enough, no? You’ll see numbers displayed on your DSLR on the manual turn dial that looks something this:

  • 1”
  • 1/14
  • 1/60
  • 1/250
  • 1/100
  • 1/1000, etc.

(In the Moment Pro Camera App, you’ll notice the numbers range from 1/4 to 1/50,000)

These numbers are measured in seconds — well, in a majority of cases, fractions of seconds. The larger the denominator, the fast the shutter. Likewise — the lower the denominator, the slower the shutter is to take a picture to allow in necessary light in for low-light images. When you’re using shutter speed of anything lower than 1/60, you’ll most likely need a tripod to reduce the lack of blur in your photo. Though, if you’re using a device with some sort of camera stabilizer (like the iPhone!) then a tripod isn’t totally necessary.

How To Shoot Action

In need of high action or drama? Crank that shutter speed up, baby. 

You’ll need a shutter speed of at least 1/250 or higher to stop the action within your picture frame without getting motion blur or camera shake. However, if you’re taking a picture of someone’s hair swaying from side-to-side or giant splash’s — you may want the shutter speed to be significantly faster.

Action shots by Caleb.

How To Use Panning

One way to get creative with the shutter speed in times of action is to pan the subject. Panning is when the photographer moves the camera alongside the subject during the exposure. This often results in a creamy motion blur, yet still sharp as tack. Panning is best for high-speed action shots that require an extra push. Getting good at panning can take several practice runs, but — boy is it fun!

The proper shutter speed for this type of photography is best set at a lower shutter ratio on the Moment Camera Pro; such as 1/70 - 1/100.

1/80 Moment App
1/8 Moment App

How To Capture Motion

Soft, velvet-like motion blur looks creamy and adds significant demension to your shot.This particular type of motion blur is accomplished when the subject is slightly moving through the frame during its set exposure. Shutter speed for this type of photograph are set low, low, low. 

It’s best to grab the tripod for this one — when used with just a hand, you might inadvertently shake the camera to the point of no return.

Shutter speed can be a struggle for beginner photographers, but with the right amount of practice, you’ll be copping better, more creative images. The Moment Pro Camera App's wide shutter speed range allows any artist the flexibility to capture a wide variety of shots.

Now get out there and show us what you got! Tag @moment and #momentcamera on Instagram when using the Moment - Pro Camera app for a chance to be featured.

Happy Shooting!