Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

2.6: Shutter speed priority mode

  • Page ID
    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    In this chapter, we will talk about how to change the shutter speed. If you use the shutter speed priority mode, you can take action photos or prevent blurred photos.

    You may be displeased with the photo on the right. The subjects became blurred because they were moving. The reason is that the motion speed is faster than the shutter speed. Every time you shoot a photo using your camera’s automatic settings, the camera adjusts the exposure settings using a combination of shutter speed
    and aperture settings. The camera doesn’t know when you are shooting a subject that is moving fast, which would require a higher shutter speed.


    High speed mode

    You can change the shutter speed from 30” to 1/1000 depending on your camera. Generally if the shutter speed is less than 1/125, we call it high
    speed mode. If you use high speed mode, you can take a picture of a moving subject without blurring, like the picture on the right. clipboard_e064c7d2e68f7f2124aa0f857428a7554.png

    Slow speed mod

    By using a slow shutter speed when photographing a road during the night, you can produce trails of lights like the one shown on the right. When should you use a slow shutter speed? The answer is that when you want to take a picture under low light or to make a blurred photo. However, you should be careful about two things. First, it is better to use a tripod when using a slow shutter speed. Second, when you take a picture of people using a slow shutter speed at night, the people will not remain in the same position for a long time.

    Changing shutter speed

    If you want to change the shutter speed, you should look into your camera manual to find the shutter speed priority mode. Here are examples of pictures taken at different shutter speed


    • High shutter speeds: when shooting moving people or subject
    • Slow shutter speeds: to show motion or direction of motion
    • The camera will automatically select aperture setting to compensate for the shutter

    Using Burst Mode

    Many cameras offer a burst mode that will take several photos a second. This feature allows you to shoot a series of photos of a moving subject. The number of photos that your camera can take in a single burst is different, but three shots is common today. This mode can be selected by menu, so see if your camera offers it or not by looking in the manual.


    This page titled 2.6: Shutter speed priority mode is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by .

    • Was this article helpful?