Learn the Terms > Shutter Speed > Photographic Examples

Photographic Examples of Shutter Speed

From frozen moments to the passage of time

The following photographs illustrate how you can use shutter speed to capture different moments in time. Any time you take a photograph, you can choose if you want to blur motion or create a crisp image. While personal preference plays a large role, there are some standard situations where you can use shutter speed creatively.

Photo One — Very Fast Shutter Speed

The seagulls were just about to take off, and were opening their wings.

In order to freeze the motion of the wings, I had to use a fast shutter speed of 1/750 of a second.
very fast shutter speed

Photo Two — Moderately Fast Shutter Speed

It was a calm day and the grass was not moving at all. I did not need to capture fast motion, and I did not want the photo to look blurry.

The shutter speed for this photo is 1/180 of a second.
moderately fast shutter speed

Photo Three — Slow Shutter Speed

I wanted to capture this waterfall in motion, and create a blurry look for the moving water.

The shutter speed was set to 1/6 of a second.

This shot required a tripod, otherwise the greenery around the waterfall would also look blurry.
slow shutter speed

Photo Four — Very Slow Shutter Speed

This is an 8 second exposure on a street at night. This photo could not have been taken without a tripod.

The red and white streaks in the photo are the lights of passing cars. Since the shutter was open a long time, the cars passed by completely while the photo was being taken.
very slow shutter speed

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