Shutter Speed Chart

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Understanding your camera’s shutter speed and learning how to control it is the best way to achieve proper exposure.

Even better, once you know the rules for correct exposure you can start breaking them in creative ways for more interesting photography. 

This guide will help you learn how shutter works and master the shutter speed chart cheat. These tips will present you with artistic opportunities and enable you to achieve unprecedented creative control.

Shuttered photography compilation of a bird

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Shutter Speed Chart

As a photographer striving to take esthetically pleasing photographs, you should select the right shutter speed to achieve proper exposure. The best way to achieve perfect shutter speed is by fine-tuning the exposure values before taking your shot.

This shutter speed chart cheat will help you understand where and when to apply various shutter speeds for that breath-taking shot. A shutter speed chart cheat will also help you improve your images for:

  • Night sky photography
  • Long exposures
  • Outdoor photography
  • Action shots 
Shutter speed chart

What Is Shutter Speed? What Does Shutter Speed Do?

In photography, shutter speed is how long the camera shutter remains open to expose the camera sensor to light. 

Exposure time affects the light information the sensor collects. It influences motion in a still image, meaning-it can freeze or motion blur in a still frame image. 

How Does Shutter Speed Work?

A slower shutter speed results in a long exposure, while a higher shutter speed creates a shorter one. In case of a longer exposure time, more light reaches the camera sensor. Even small tweaks to your shutter speed setting have a major effect on exposure value. A different shutter setting will dramatically change the look and feel of your photo. 

To freeze motion and avoid blurring, the minimum shutter speed must be faster than the movement in the natural scene. 

Photography: The Exposure Triangle

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What Is Shutter Speed Measured In? 

You can measure shutter speed in seconds. The shortest shutter speed can measure down to 1/4000 of a second, whereas the longest can count up to thirty seconds. 

It means a slow setting shows blurry motion and captures more detail in dim scenes, while a faster shutter freezes motion in a still image but needs brighter light for full detail.

How to Read Shutter Speed

Shutter speed numbers like the ones in the shutter speed chart, represent time in seconds or fractions of a second. 

Shatter speed pictures

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What Does a Shutter Speed of One Mean?

Longer shutter speeds start from one and above. Therefore, setting your image sensor to one means anything that moves in your scene will appear blurry in a still photograph. 

However, you can use the shutter speed chart to determine the right setting for low light situations and night scenes.

What Does 1/30 Mean on a Camera?

A reading of 1/30 on a camera is still relatively slow because it is close to the shutter speed of one second. 

It may be suitable for capturing slower-moving target subjects during general photography.

What Does 1 1000 Mean?

Unlike the maximum film speed, 1/1000 of a second is a super-fast shutter speed.  This shutter speed allows in minimal light and gives the effect of freezing motion in a picture. 

For this reason, it is suitable in brightly lit scenes to get darker images and when snapping photos of fast-moving objects. 

What Is a Camera Shutter?

Typically, a camera shutter acts as a door on the body of a camera and helps in covering the camera sensor. When the shutter curtain is closed, the camera sensor cannot collect light from the scene and when the curtain opens, the camera sensor collects the light information from the scene.

When capturing an image, you should push the shutter button to open the shutter. With the shutter open, the sensor will get exposed to light depending on the amount of time you have specified. Technically, mirrorless cameras do not have a physical shutter unlike DSLR cameras.

What Specific Shutter Speed to Use?

So, which are the different shutter speeds you should use when controlling motion and taking pics in the following conditions?

What Is the Best Shutter Speed for Outdoor Photography?

If you are shooting on a bright sunny day, a shutter speed chart cheat sheet can help you know how to manipulate the light. You will require a faster shutter speed of 1/1000 or more. 

Using faster measurements lets in less light through the lens aperture, producing darker photos.

Best shuttered speed guide

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What Is the Correct Shutter Speed for Indoor Photography?

Capturing photos indoors means that you may be in a dimly lit scene. It might require that you expose the sensor to as much light as possible. 

You can reliably use a slower or longer shutter speed, like 1/100 or 1/60 seconds in such a situation.

What Is the Correct Shutter Speed for Night Photography?

Night photography means that the conditions are incredibly dark. It means that you will set your readings down further to reach a longer shutter speed. 

Doing so will allow you to let in as much light as possible. To avoid excessive motion blur, you can use a stable surface to prevent camera movement and then check for the best shutter speed from the shutter speed chart cheat sheet. However, you can’t avoid this when capturing a moving subject.

What Is the Correct Shutter Speed for Fast-Moving Subjects?

If you target speedy subjects, you can opt for fast shutter speeds like 1/1000 or more. 

It’ll help freeze the subjects in your frame picture. You can go for half the amount when shooting a slow-moving object

Which Is the Ideal Shutter Speed When Shooting Handheld?

Even without the shutter speed chart cheat sheet, you can find out the correct shutter speed to use when shooting handheld using the 1/ focal length and then setting the speed using the camera dial.

Slower Shutter Speeds

Normally, slower shutter speeds result in motion blur. You can achieve this by keeping some part or the largest part of the subject still while naturally blurring the parts in motion. You can capture a creative blurry image of a dance movement or light trails using the minimum shutter speed.

Star trail capturing is based on stars movement and their motion blur. The motion blur technique also applies when capturing landscapes that feature water as it gives the water a silky smooth appearance. Usually, if you are using the extended exposure times, it is referred to as long exposure photography.

Nightscapes, star trails and the milky way are among the types of photography in this category. Typically, the shutter speeds are low making it difficult to capture without a tripod. 

Faster Shutter speeds

Normally, faster shutter speeds are used with water splash and wildlife photography. A flying bird might require you to capture at shutter speeds of 1/2000 or faster while freezing water motion might require you to capture at 1/1000 shutter speeds or higher depending on the water flow.

Shutter Speed Modes

Camera modes are essential as they allow you to regulate exposure parameters such as aperture and ISO. There are two major modes that help control exposure when shooting, including:

  • Manual mode: In the manual mode, you have full manual control over aperture and shutter speed while metering provides you with a guideline for the right exposure. It comes in handy when you are shooting in extreme lighting conditions.
  • Shutter Priority mode: This mode allows you to set the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture automatically depending on the exposure compensation, lighting conditions, ISO configurations and the metering mode.

Shutter Speed Chart Infographic

Exposure is the key thing that rings in mind at the mention of shutter speed in photography. Shutter speed is an important element of the exposure triangle as it helps photographers capture clearly-exposed images. 

Although knowing how to adjust shutter speed values can help you apply amazing effects on your images such as those of long exposure photography, it is a quite challenging tool to understand. 

The main function of the shutter speed chart cheat sheet is to help artists and photographers visualize the different aspects of how shutter speed works and know how to use it as their primary artistic tool.

Comparison Overview

How does shutter speed affect other camera settings?

Shutter Speed vs Aperture


Shutter speed controls how long a shutter stays open and provides a sense of motion in a still image. 

The exposure triangle of photography

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On the other hand, an aperture is the size of the camera lens opening that controls how much light enters the camera. 


Both aperture and shutter speed settings determine the degree of exposure of the sensor to light. They regulate the amount of light reaching the image sensor. 

Shutter Speed vs Shutter Angle


Shutter speed is an exposure tool in photography that freezes motion and captures motion blur in a still photo, while shutter angle helps shoot videos. 

The shutter angle determines how digital cameras calculate the shutter speed as you bounce between scenes to prevent you from doing the math. 


Just like shutter speed, shutter angle allows videographers and filmmakers to regulate the rate of motion blur in their shots. 

ISO vs Shutter Speed


The primary difference between shutter speed and ISO is that the shutter speed deals with light reaching the sensor. On the other hand, ISO controls the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. It also introduces digital noise to the image especially when using a longer focal length. 


The values of both ISO and Shutter speed affect the exposure rate and the quality of the image.

Photography, the exposure triangle

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Shutter Speed Image Qualities

Shutter speed ranges will help you visualize different image attributes and their equivalent exposure time. The following are the different shutter speed ranges and what they are ideal for.

  • Shutter speed range of 1/500th -1/250th second: This range is ideal for use when shooting in partly cloudy and overcast days. Additionally, it performs exemplary well when capturing moving objects as it helps you achieve a sharp focus, with less ambient light and without the motion blur effect.
  • Shutter speed range of 1/8th – 10 seconds: Long shutter speeds are ideal for creating motion blur in travel and landscape photography. 

People Also Ask

As simple as photography sounds, crucial aspects surrounding shutter speed influence your image. And the best way to tap into your exceptional photography skills is by grasping them.

Here, you’ll discover the basics, even though it might require more practice to learn everything about shutter speed. 

What Do F Stops Mean?

Also known as the f-number, the f-stop is a camera setting that specifies numbers when changing the lens measurements on an image.

Common f-stops on reading on aperture scales include f/8, f/2, f/16, and so on. These values determine the amount of light that enters the sensor.

What Is Shutter Angle?

Shutter angle is a rotary shutter that helps control the appearance of motion blur in a film. It also helps expose the film to light. 

Unlike the shutter speed that deals with still photos, a shutter angle helps the camera calculate the shutter speed while filmmakers bounce between scenes. 

Is ISO Shutter Speed?

No, ISO is not shutter speed, because it is not a component of exposure. 

Unlike shutter speed that controls how long light strikes the image sensors, ISO speed comes later as exposure compensation to brighten the images you already captured. A lower ISO rating is desirable since it creates a smoother image.

The exposure triangle guide

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What Is a Good Shutter Speed for Handheld?

Setting your camera to a faster shutter speed is crucial if you want to capture sharp and exquisite handheld photos. 

Adjusting to a faster shutter speed means that your sensor lets in less light and doesn’t capture movement. A shutter speed of 1/1000 or more is a good option. 

Does Shutter Speed Affect Sharpness?

Yes, shutter speed greatly influences a photo’s sharpness. For instance, a long shutter speed captures motion in subjects, causing motion blur. 

You can achieve a sharp image without photo editing  if you set your camera to a faster shutter. Slow shutter speeds can capture camera shake, creating a soft final image. 

What Is a Slow Shutter Speed?

A slow shutter speed means that the shutter opens for a longer time, letting in more light. In return, slow shutter speed captures moving subjects and the blurring effect on a picture. 

This shutter speed can be a little over 1/60seconds to one and more.


A golden rule of thumb in photography is to shoot using the most suitable shutter speed. The best way to do it is by identifying the purpose of your shoot. What do you intend to capture?

Your intentions, mastery of the chart, and these tips should help you discover your artistic side.