There are three basic components to capturing a photo using your camera: Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. These three mechanics regulate the amount of light that enters your camera sensor. How much of that light hitting the sensor can affect the quality of the image you capture. This tutorial will cover shutter speed.

Your shutter speed is the speed in which the mirror or shutter inside your camera lifts to expose the sensor to light. These speeds are measures in fractions of a second. For instance, a 1/250 shutter speed means that your camera sensor will be exposed to light for 1/250th of a second, or…

1 รท 250 = 0.004 seconds 

So when you press your “shutter button” the mirror or shutter covering the camera sensor will lift at the speed you entered to capture the image. In reality, all your camera is capturing is light.

Naturally, the longer your sensor has time to absorb light, the brighter your images will be. And the shorter your sensor has time to absorb light, the darker your images will be.

So naturally you’re thinking to yourself that lowering your shutter speed when it’s dark out is a simple fix to making your photos bright – well, not so much. Lowering your shutter speed to something under 1/60 runs a high risk of spanking very blurry photos of your hands are shaking or your subject is moving.

Notice how blurry the fish is at 1/60 Shutter Speed

And the lower your shutter speed is, the blurrier they get. That’s because your sensor is absorbing light for a longer time and therefore, any movements of light are captured as well. Higher shutter speeds reduce blurriness because they’re limiting the amount of time your sensor is collecting light, resulting in super sharp, crisp, but albeit darker photos.

There are a few ways to fix exposure in a photo. If you’re shooting in low light conditions and your subject isn’t moving, consider using a tripod to stabilize your camera at a very low shutter speed. If your subject is moving in low light, raise your shutter speed but also raise your ISO while keeping your aperture at its lowest setting.

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