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Shutter Speed Effects

Lesson 8 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

Shutter Speed Effects

Lesson 8 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

8. Shutter Speed Effects

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is the effects of shutter speed in photography.


  1. What is the fastest shutter speed commonly found in cameras?

    The fastest shutter speed commonly found in cameras is 8,000th of a second, although some cameras can go up to 32,000th of a second.

  2. Why do aviation photographers sometimes prefer not to shoot at fast shutter speeds?

    Aviation photographers sometimes prefer not to shoot at fast shutter speeds because it can make the propellers on the aircraft appear stopped, which can look unnatural.

  3. Why would a photographer choose a fast shutter speed even if there is no motion in the shot?

    A photographer may choose a fast shutter speed for technical reasons, such as controlling the amount of light that enters the camera or to achieve a specific artistic effect.

  4. What is the appropriate shutter speed for freezing fast human action?

    The appropriate shutter speed for freezing fast human action is generally around 500th of a second.

  5. When shooting a photograph with a fast shutter speed, is there a benefit to going beyond the point where the motion is frozen?

    No, once the motion is frozen, there is no benefit to going beyond that point with a faster shutter speed.

  6. What is the key concept in using fast shutter speeds?

    The key concept in using fast shutter speeds is knowing when enough is enough and when to stop increasing the shutter speed to capture motion.

  7. What type of subject does the shutter speed not matter for?

    The shutter speed does not matter for subjects that are stationary.

  8. What is the purpose of using different shutter speeds for different subjects and situations?

    Different shutter speeds are used for different subjects and situations to capture and convey the desired amount of motion or blur in the photograph.

  9. What are some examples of slower shutter speeds that can be used to capture motion blur?

    Slower shutter speeds, such as 1/15th of a second or longer, can be used to capture motion blur in subjects like water, people, cars, or animals.

  10. What are some examples of very slow shutter speeds that can be used for long exposures?

    Very slow shutter speeds, such as several seconds or minutes, can be used for long exposures to capture star trails, light painting, or creating a sense of movement in stationary subjects.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Photographic Characteristics


Camera Types


Viewing System


Lens System


Shutter System


Shutter Speed Basics


Shutter Speed Effects


Camera & Lens Stabilization


Quiz: Shutter Speeds


Camera Settings Overview


Drive Mode & Buffer


Camera Settings - Details


Sensor Size: Basics


Sensor Sizes: Compared


The Sensor - Pixels


Sensor Size - ISO


Focal Length


Angle of View


Practicing Angle of View


Quiz: Focal Length


Fisheye Lens


Tilt & Shift Lens


Subject Zone


Lens Speed




Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Apertures


Lens Quality


Light Meter Basics




Quiz: Histogram


Dynamic Range


Exposure Modes


Sunny 16 Rule


Exposure Bracketing


Exposure Values


Quiz: Exposure


Focusing Basics


Auto Focus (AF)


Focus Points


Focus Tracking


Focusing Q&A


Manual Focus


Digital Focus Assistance


Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Depth of Field


DOF Preview & Focusing Screens


Lens Sharpness


Camera Movement


Advanced Techniques


Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance


Auto Focus Calibration


Focus Stacking


Quiz: Focus Problems


Camera Accessories


Lens Accessories


Lens Adaptors & Cleaning




Flash & Lighting






Being a Photographer


Natural Light: Direct Sunlight


Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight


Natural Light: Mixed


Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Quiz: Lighting


Light Management


Flash Fundamentals




Built-In & Add-On Flash


Off-Camera Flash


Off-Camera Flash For Portraits


Advanced Flash Techniques


Editing Assessments & Goals


Editing Set-Up


Importing Images


Organizing Your Images


Culling Images


Categories of Development


Adjusting Exposure


Remove Distractions


Cropping Your Images


Composition Basics


Point of View


Angle of View


Subject Placement


Framing Your Shot


Foreground & Background & Scale


Rule of Odds


Bad Composition


Multi-Shot Techniques


Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction


Human Vision vs The Camera


Visual Perception


Quiz: Visual Balance


Visual Drama


Elements of Design


Texture & Negative Space


Black & White & Color


The Photographic Process


Working the Shot


What Makes a Great Photograph?


Lesson Info

Shutter Speed Effects

So, we're gonna talk about shutter speeds and apertures. We're gonna look at some examples, and what you need to be thinking about is time and motion, how long a time is that? And you're all good with time to some degree, you know. You know the difference between a day and a week, but the difference between a hundredth of a second and a thousandth of a second is a big deal to us photographers, and so, you need to learn what those differences are as we go through this, and then, you need to be thinking about how much motion is actually taking place in that given amount of time and I may have some questions for you as we go through this, so start thinking, be on your toes. Alright, so we're gonna start off at the fastest of shutter speeds, which is an eight-thousandth of a second, and I know I just said that and I don't want anybody to write a letter, 'cause you know, people just like to write me letters, "You were wrong", love to point out when I was wrong. There are some cameras that w...

ill actually go up to 32,000th of a second, special of case, most of 'em topping out around 8,000. So, water droplet falling into a water bottle, bounces out, you need a really fast shutter speed to stop that action. There are many cameras that do not have an 8,000th of a second. You buy an entry level, $500 camera with interchangeable lenses, it does not have an 8,000th of a second. Do not feel left out, it's not that big a deal. I rarely ever use an 8,000th of a second. There are a lot of aviation photographers that don't like shooting at too fast a shutter speeds 'cause it looks like the prop has stopped working. They want a little bit of blur to indicate that this is actually working out okay. Sometimes, I'm choosing an 8,000th of a second because I'm dealing with light and I'm trying to do something artistically in the photograph, and I just need a fast shutter speed that doesn't let in much light, and so there's nothing moving in the shot, but I'm choosing 8,000th of a second for a technical reason, so that I can do something else in photography, so that you're motivated by many different things. Alright, got a hippo moving through the water here. Pretty quick, look at those water droplets in the air. When you're freezing water in the air that's moving around, typically water's moving when it's in the air, you need a pretty fast shutter speed, and I'm not gonna concern you too much with the differences between a thousand, two thousand, four thousand, eight thousand. These are all very fast shutter speeds, it just depends on the intricacies of those particular movements. Now, I am gonna have a question for you on the next slide, but I want you to look at this really carefully because we've frozen the wings of this hummingbird, but we're not gonna change any settings on the camera. Also, at 4,000th of a second, the hummingbird's wings are blurry in the shot here. Now, does anybody in the room know why they're blurry here, let me see if I can go back, and they're sharp here? It's the same bird, I'm at the same shutter speed, I'm at the same aperture, I'm at the same ISO. What is different about this photograph? If you have an answer, just raise your hand, and let's pass up the microphone. I think we have somebody here in the front row. What's different? The position of the wings, so you hit the apex, so there's that momentary, I guess, stop of the wing before it starts flopping back. That is very good, are you a birder? No. Oh okay (chuckles). There are birders who know about these things, but the hummingbird's wings, and I'm not gonna be exact about this motion here, so don't write a letter, is it goes back and then it kinda stops, or at least it slows down, and then, at the peak of the speed, it's really moving quick and then it stops at peak. So it's, you know, doing that, and so, it is moving faster here than it was in the previous shot, and so, you have to be very thoughtful about where exactly is that movement happening and how fast is it. 2,000th of a second, looking at that water droplet there. All that movement very well frozen, and so, if you wanna freeze it, these thousandth of a second is gonna do a good job at stopping all sorts of quick action, even the shoe laces. You can imagine how fast they're flopping around in this particular case. Thousandth of a second more, water in the air. Water's a great subject to shoot for fast movement and for slow mo, so we're gonna see a lot of water photographs in here. More water being thrown about. Something's happening really quick, you're gonna probably need to experiment with those faster shutter speeds. Now, I'm gonna give you at least, I'm just gonna give you two shutter speeds that I think are critical shutter speeds. The first is 500th of a second, and that's because it stops fast human action, in general, alright, and so, we tend to photograph a lot of people. We tend to be kinda more interested in people than other things, it seems like, and so, if something's moving really quick, a human being is moving really quick, you're gonna need 500th of a second, or maybe faster. Alright, if it's Usain Bolt in the next Olympics, whoever is the fastest in the world at the time, okay, that's a top of, that's like the fastest thing you can do, you might need it more than 500th of a second, and so, it varies, there's a couple of variables, but as far as a general rule of thumb, you're gonna need 500th of a second. Now, I think one of the most important concepts in photography is what's the appropriate shutter speed. We can freeze the motion at a 500th of a second. If we choose a thousand, we've frozen it as well, same with two, four, 8,000th of a second. We're gonna freeze the motion, but what's the difference if we shoot this at 8,000th of a second? Well, let's look at our shutter speeds. If we're at 500, and we go up to 8,000, that's one, two, three, four stops less light coming in the lens. We're gonna have to make up those four stops with other settings on the camera, and that's not doing any good. It's kind of wasting resources, you might say, and so, what's important about fast shutter speeds is knowing when enough is enough, when is it good enough to do the job and extra doesn't get you anything more. Once something is frozen, it's frozen, you don't need any more, and so, if 500th is doing the job, 2,000 does not get you any extra credit points, alright. So, just enough to do the job. 500th is not doing the job here, and that's because this is not a human, alright. Certain animals are just gonna move faster than other animals, and so, we blurred the wings on this. So, that's why it's blurry. Now, the question beyond that is, is this good or is this bad, you know? 'Cause if you're new to photography, like well, it's, "Can I do blur? "Is that good or is that bad?" Well, if you're photographing for Wing Tip Monthly, no it's not good, 'cause people wanna see those wing tips, but it is a way that we can show motion in a still photograph, and it's the way people read motion in a photograph. So, a little bit of blur in the right place, at the right time, can be a really good thing to have. 250th of a second, fast human action. If you look at her feet, in the red, starting to get a little blurry. I'm okay with it because I wanna show there's motion there. You can still see her and her face pretty well. I think she might be towards the peak of the jump, but the feet are still moving, and so, if you're showing blur, you're probably wanting to show a little bit of motion and action. Some of the water is starting to blur here, much more so than we saw in the photographs in the thousandths of a second, alright, and that's okay. You know, maybe we want to show a little bit of that movement, makes it a little bit more dynamic in some ways. Alright, well look at this. This is kind of interesting, 'cause there's a lot of things going on in here. We have things that are both sharp and blurry. The stick is blurry at the end. That let's you know stick's moving a lot. The little puff of dust, right above the top of the tire that's just kinda hanging in the air for a second, and if you look on the front side of the tire, you know it's movin' pretty quickly. So, you know it's not just sittin' there, it's movin' pretty quickly, and that helps viewers look at your photograph and kinda get a better feel for what that was like in real life. Now, one of the reasons why I think photography is intrinsically interesting, is because we're given a clue. We don't know what it really looked like, but it allows our brains to imagine what the situation really looked like, and sometimes, all we need is a hint, and we can imagine that situation, and so, when we look at this photograph, we're not just judging the photograph, we're judging the imagination of what we think happened at that time, and this just gives us more clues to look at. Here is where we are generally moving out of the faster shutter speeds, moving more into the mid-range shutter speeds, if you will. 125th of a second, it's gonna be pretty good for things that are moving around, not too fast, and so, we've got some birds in the water here, moving around. We know how they're kinda movin' around, boats in the background, but it all looks pretty sharp, 'cause it's not moving too quickly, and so, you wanna photograph under a low light, people moving, you might be able to notice just a tad bit blur in the feet, but for the most part, nice sharp photos. 60th of a second is gonna be our second key shutter speed. This is good for stopping casual human action, and so, people are all moving around, the boats are moving around, but they're not moving too quick. It's gonna do a good, reasonable job of stopping that motion, and so, they're dancing, they're not dancing super quick. Time it right with 60th of a second, you're not gonna get blur in this case. Something's moving pretty quickly, and I am following the subject in the frame, which is called panning, I'm gonna get the subject still because it's in the same spot in the frame, but the background is very blurry because I'm twisting and turning, as I'm shooting this, and so, now we are definitely getting into slower shutter speeds, in my mind, as far as a general grouping of 'em. So, there's a lot of fast ones, a whole bunch of slow ones, and not too many normal ones, if you will. So, a 30th of a second, taxi cab driving past to the 30th of a second. It's gonna be blurry enough, we can't read who's that cab in there, and so, like to do that from time to time to show that there's movement and action going on. Now, a 30th of a second is a little bit slow for capturing people, but there's a lot of exceptions. These people are really small people. No, actually, they're normal-sized people, but they're lighting the lens, so they're small in the frame, you don't see the movement as much, and so, if they're smaller in the frame, you're not gonna notice as much movement. So, yeah, I can go down to a 30th of a second and it's not gonna be a problem, but sometimes I do like a little bit of blur, it adds a little bit of mystery into a photo, and so, I think that can be really good to have from time to time. Now, I'm gonna talk more about panning as we go through the class, and this is just a technique that's been used for a long time by photographers, and I think it's great for shooting pictures of cars and things that are moving, so that you can blur the background, and my favorite shutter speed for panning is 1/15th of a second. Now, it depends on your lens, and where you're standing, and where you are, and a bunch of other factors, but 15th of a second usually gets right to the heart of the panning process. I think this picture is interesting because everybody's moving, but there's a different amount of blur, depending on where they are in the frame, and it depends on how big you are in the frame, as to how much blur you're gonna have. Somebody very close to the frame is gonna be very blurry, 'cause they're bigger on the frame, the people on the escalator on the back aren't nearly as blurry 'cause they're smaller in the frame, and so, in this case, the size and the coverage on it, on each of those individuals matters quite a bit. Now, all the pictures you've seen so far are handheld photos. This is our first tripod photo, and in here you'll notice, there's a bunch of tulips. In the front row of tulips, has quite a bit of blur on 'em, and that's because there's a wind blowing over the entire field and all the tulips are blowing. Now, the question is, is why are these blurry, but the ones towards the back are not blurry? And it has to do with what we were just talking about in the last photograph. These are bigger in frame, they cover more area and they're moving back and forth across more pixels. Alright, so the size in the frame matters, and so, that's why there's not gonna be a lot of hard and fast rules on "You need this shutter speed." You need to know more factors about how close you are to your subject, how big is it in the frame. Going back to the panning process down to an 8th of a second, the backgrounds are getting very, very blurry, and lots of movement with the legs and the hands moving, and everything else, getting some very interesting results. I'm in a very dark environment, and I am choosing an 8th of a second for two reasons. Artistically, I wanted a slow shutter speed that showed that these dancers were twirling, but I also needed a slow shutter speed 'cause it was really, really dark. It's kinda nice when two different things line up, and two motivations point you in the right direction, you might say. Getting down to a quarter of a second. We're gonna start seeing some more photos of water, and so, water photos, if you want that blurry look in the water, you can start getting those around a quarter of a second, depending a little bit on the water movement. I've tried panning at some slower shutter speeds with sporadic results, shall we say (chuckles), and so, sometimes you'll get it, and sometimes you'll not get it okay. Now, in this photo, there's really nothin' moving, nothing of significance. The clouds are moving, but insignificantly. I am frequently choosing very slow shutter speeds for reasons beyond movement. I'm choosing it here to let in a lot of light, 'cause I'm trying to do something else with my aperture, and my ISO, we'll get into that, but I'm trying to set lots of depth to field, which doesn't let in much light. I'm setting a really slow shutter speed, and what's key here is I know nothing is moving. So, it doesn't matter if I shoot a thousandth of a second, or a second, the subject is gonna look the same, 'cause it's a stationary subject. Camera on a tripod, half second, runners. You can see their feet, you can't see their heads, you can't see their legs, and that's because when you run, your foot is on the ground for a moment. That moment might be around a half-second, depends on how fast you're running, alright, and so, that's why we can see those shoes, and everything else is a blur. Alright, so we got a train in this one, and you'll notice the cars on the left side of the frame are blurry, and if you follow the train all the way back around the corner, doesn't look so blurry, and if you've been following along, you know that the size of those cars matter, as they're bigger on the frame, but there's something else going on, as well. If you follow that train around that S-curve, back when it comes around that far corner, the train cars are coming straight towards you, and when something is coming straight towards you, it's really hard to see if it's moving quickly or slowly, and so, the direction of travel is very important. If someone is running right in front of you, they're gonna appear to be moving very, very quickly, but if they're coming right at you, it's kinda hard to see that change in size and positioning, and so, different shutter speeds for different direction of travel, as well as size on screen. When I wanna shoot a waterfall, or a blurry water shot, my goal is to get to one second. Yeah, I said you can do it at a quarter second, but one second gives you that nice, creamy, cotton candy look to your photos, and so, one second for me is usually the goal when I get down here to this shutter speed. Now, will something stand still for one second? Sometimes, and so, I wanted to get a bit of a blurry shot of the water moving, in this case, it's not moving real quick, but the great blue heron there is rock solid frozen there for at least one second, and so, sometimes you need that because it's very low light levels out there. Playing around with water, moving at two seconds. I'm choosing two seconds here, 'cause it's relatively low light in this forest, and I'm trying to get a lot of depth to field, which we'll talk more about in an upcoming section, but I'm simply choosing this for technical reasons. I need to let in a lot of light, and I know nothing is moving in the frame, and so, there's no repercussions from using this slower shutter speed, just doing it for technical reasons we'll talk more about. Now, typically, I would not shoot a picture at four seconds hoping to get people still, but you can look on the bridge down there, and some people are moving and some people are not, in four seconds, and so, you're gonna get kinda this mix of blurriness with people movement. See that at Grand Central Station. In fact, it's kinda weird, you can see on the lower right-hand side, almost like a repeating pattern of people, depending on their style of walk, you might see their foot there for just a little bit of time during that four-second exposure. A couple of people are just standing there talking. One guy is moving his head a lot more than the other person, and so, different types of movement within that period of time. Here's a LED hula hoop, moving over the camera, and so, this is where you do light painting, and so, you take a light, you move it around with the shutter open for a long period of time, you can create some fun stuff, especially with these LED hula hoops. Working right, let's see this is sun, this is sunset here, and so, it's just low light levels, and so, I need that long shutter speed because the light levels are really low, but I also wanted to blur those fountains as well, and eight seconds is definitely gonna do a really good job blurring those fountains. Yosemite Valley at night time, star point photography with a 15-second exposure. Something that we weren't able to do in the days of film, our cameras are now much more sensitive, and with the right set up, you can capture night time illumination, and this is, I think, potentially just a little bit of moonlight, illuminating the valley. In Venice, 15 seconds. I had the gondolas all moving up and down because the water is sloshing around and moving it right a bit, quite a bit. What's kinda nice, whenever you have a blurry photograph, is to have something that's sharp in the photograph to let people know it wasn't just a mistake. You actually intended it, and so having the church, and the buildings in the background, nice and sharp, knows, let's people know that was a little bit intentional that you just wanted that movement, but you did everything else correctly. Light painting with car headlamps. Always interesting to find, interesting, good to find interesting places to shoot. I found a place where I could get out in the median, and safely be there, not just truly in the middle of the road, so that I could get those blurry headlamps going in there. This is an unusual one. This is going through, I think this was the Corinth Canal over in Greece. It's this very narrow passage way that small cruise ships can go, and I wanted to do a 30-second exposure, where you could see people moving around on the deck, and so, my camera was on a tripod on the boat. Normally, this technique doesn't work too well, 'cause the camera's actually moving, but the boat is moving very smoothly, and very steady, 'cause they don't wanna rub up against those walls that cost a lot of money. Traffic below is moving very quickly. Traffic above is kinda stop and go, going through the intersections, and so, you can see a little bit of blurriness, a little bit of see through cars here, and it's fun playing around with these long shutter speeds because they allow us to see the world in a way that we don't see it with our own eyes. Sometimes, you'll go beyond 30 seconds, and this is where you would use the bulb timer on your camera. There just wasn't enough tail lights going through this section in Rome for me, but if I left it open for two minutes, I could get more cars in there, and I could solve my problem with not enough tail lights. Now, after a couple of light cycles, I get enough tail lights. Two seconds, I think this might be called The Boneyard, down in Monterey, California. This is not fog, it is not mist. It is simply water rolling in and rolling out, just the waves hitting the rocks coming back and forth, and so, can take on a very different look under a long shutter speed. Next couple of photographs are from a long time ago. When I was shooting film, I would do star trails, leaving the shutter open for hours on my camera. It's a little more difficult to do these days because the sensors heat up, and they're generally not very good for more than five or 15 minutes of exposure. There are other ways of replicating this nowadays with multiple shots, but this is a single film shot of Mt. Rainier with star trails with a four-hour exposure. Here's another one from a different angle using a wide-angle lens, showing the movement of the stars there, and if you look real carefully on Mt. Rainier, you can see headlamps of the climbers climbing the mountain right there. So, they were climbing up and that's the distance that they traveled in those four hours. So, a lot of different shutter speeds, it's really the definition of the moment that you're capturing. So, going back to review. Let's take a look at all the shutter speeds, but locked on to Niagara Falls. There's gonna be fast shutter speeds, for whatever you're choosing, that freeze the motion, and as you change the shutter speed and start working it slower, and slower, and slower, at a certain point, you're gonna hit a break point, where you start to see a little bit of blur, some motion blur, and that's a key shutter speed to remember for that subject. Then you're gonna go through what I believe to be some awkward, intermediate shutter speeds that show a little bit of blur, but not very much, and then, you're gonna hit a point where you really start to get a nice lookin' blur, and this is gonna depend on your definition of a nice lookin' blur, and what you're shooting, and then, you're gonna get to a point where it looks really good, and then, you're gonna keep going, and there's gonna be diminishing effects for going further, and so, yeah you can keep going, but it's gonna be only marginally different at that point, and so, the key thing is trying to find out where that sweet spot is in the fast, to keep the frozen, and that sweet spot on the slow where it looks good and it's convenient to shoot, you might say, and so, those are some places that you wanna be, and it varies quite a bit from one subject to the next. Where you have it for Niagara Falls is gonna be different where you have it for a car racing down the street. So, play around with your shutter speeds and really get to learn them. So, question for this audience right here. I want somebody to answer this question. With what, oh we, we'll do multiple, we'll do a audience poll here. With what type of subject does the shutter speed not matter? So, we have four different options here and I want you to raise your hand when I call out that answer. So, who thinks that shutter speed does not matter subjects that move quickly? Anybody believe that? Thank God. Okay, how 'bout subjects in the background? Who believes we don't need to worry about shutter speeds with subjects in the background, anybody? Nobody, okay. How 'bout subjects that are stationary? Anybody believe that? Okay, I see a lot of hands going up there. Anybody for subjects in the foreground? Anybody hands up for that? We have some people not answering questions in here, but the people at home are answering questions, they're raising hands. You guys need to do better next time. Alright, so most of you got that correctly, subjects that are stationary. So, when you are photographing something, you need to think, is there anything moving that I need to worry about. If it's not moving, that allows you a whole bunch of options on the way you're gonna set shutter speeds. Now, how does this work in the real world? Well, this is all theory. So, we decided to go out in the field and actually practice using different shutter speeds, and we have a video that we're gonna show you right now about working with shutter speeds out in the real world. Alright, I wanna talk about shutter speed, 'cause if you're photographing anything that's moving quickly, you gotta have a shutter speed fast enough to stop the action, assuming of course, you want to see all that frozen motion. Well, in this case, what we're gonna be shooting is a dog. We're here in one of Seattle's parks, and people bring their dogs out to the parks all the time, and so, we're gonna see Lola run, and Lola's really fast. Let's go ahead and see Lola run right now, and she's got a lot of speed to her, and I am gonna need a really fast shutter speed to stop her, and I'm not sure exactly what shutter speed I need, and so, I don't expect to get a shot great the first time around, but I wanna get to it pretty quickly 'cause I don't know how much she's gonna run. So, what I'm gonna try figuring on doing with my camera, is I'm gonna start off with some pretty fast shutter speeds, and then, I'll make some adjustments with my aperture and my ISO to figure out what the absolute best settings are for this particular situation. So, when it's time to set a fast shutter speed for an object that's moving fast, you gotta get your camera into the right mode. Now, usually, I just keep my camera in an aperture priority mode when I don't know when my next shot is gonna be or what it's gonna be of, but in this case, I'm gonna be very specific about what shutter speed I want. So, my first change is I'm gonna go up to the mode dial, and I'm gonna put it over into M for manual. That way I have full control over shutter speeds, apertures and ISO. Now, I know that I'm gonna need a fast shutter speed for this dog that's running, and it's running really quick too, but I'm not sure how fast I need. So, kinda my default fast shutter speed is a 500th of a second. So, I'm gonna set that one up first, 500th of a second, and I may need something faster. I suspect I'm gonna need something faster, but we're gonna start here because it's kinda dark and I don't wanna go overly fast. There's no need in setting overly fast shutter speed, so you want just enough to do the job. So, that's the first part. Now, the next part is gonna be the aperture and the ISO, and what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna throw the camera into a live view mode here, and if I hold the camera up, we're getting a very, very dark scene because we're still not getting enough information in the camera. So, what I'm gonna do right now, and I'm already opened up to F4 on the aperture. This is the maximum amount of light that this lens will let in, so, I'm gonna change my ISO up until I start getting a proper exposure. You can see it getting brighter in the view finder here, and so, all the way up at 3200, I'm getting a reasonable decent brightness here, and if I look at my light meter. If I point it in at grass, grass is very close to middle tone gray, so I should get a reading pretty close to middle, and as you can see, it's hovering right near middle, it could be just a tad higher. Let me go up a little bit higher with the ISO, and so I'm now on an even exposure at the grass, which is perfect. So, I think I have a proper exposure, which in this case is 500th of a second, F4, which is the maximum aperture on this lens, and I'm at ISO 4,000, and in case you haven't figured out, it's kinda dark out here right now. So, I think I'm ready for the first run of Lola, and we're gonna see how well 500th of a second does in this case. This is an ideal dog running situation 'cause we have a couple of dog handlers and the dog's gonna run specifically between these two, and so, it helps if you know kinda where the dog's gonna be. Focusing can be a little bit tricky, and I'm trying to simply things here. I know exactly where Lola's gonna run, and I kinda have a mark picked out on the grass where she's gonna run, and I just focused on that spot right now. So, we're not worried about focus tracking or anything complicated here. You could even just manually focus on where you know the dog will be, and then, I'm gonna shoot photos through there so that at least one, she'll be right in where she needs to be in focus. Now, another setting on my camera that I wanted to go in and adjust, was I wanted to have my camera in the continuous drive mode. Normally, your camera's in a single shot mode, so you get one shot at a time, but here, I don't when that shot's gonna be. So, I'm gonna put it in the continuous high mode, and different cameras will fire at a different rate. This camera fires at about eight frames a second, which is pretty good, not as, best of the best sports cameras, but it's still very good. So, I got my shutter speeds, apertures, I know where I'm focused. I'm just gonna, gonna focus out here generally, where I think she's gonna be. My camera's in the right mode, so I think we are ready to have Lola run, if she's willing to run. (shutters clicking) Ah, she looks awesome there. Okay, so now it's time to check the camera and see if I got decent results on the back of my camera in here. So, it looks like 500th of a second is doing a pretty good job, but let's zoom in now, and Lola's face looks pretty good, but her paws are a little bit blurry 'cause she is moving really quick. So, I'm gonna bump things up a little bit, and I'm gonna change my shutter speed to a thousandth of a second. Well, a thousandth of a second is gonna let in one stop less light, which means, I need to let in one stop more light with the aperture or the ISO, and I can't do it with the aperture 'cause this is the max that this lens goes to. So, I'm gonna have to bump up the ISO three clicks. I am now at ISO 8,000, which is higher than I would like to be, but it's where I have to be in order to get this shot. I think we're ready, let's have Lola run. (shutters clicking) Ah, she was movin' that time. That was good. Alright, so we're gonna take a look. Okay, so as she's moving through here, still not in focus because she's still running, or I have pre-focused in the wrong spot, so we're gonna do it again. Alright, so let's have Lola run. (shutters clicking) Okay good, I think she ran right through the spot that I need her to run through, just right out in front of me, and let's go ahead and take a look at the photos, and see how we did on that shutter speed. Alright, so now she's running right through the spot that we want, and let's take a closer look at her, and it looks like a thousandth of a second is doing a pretty good job, face looks pretty clear. Let's check her feet, 'cause that's what's moving really, really quickly. It's possible that we could even go to a faster shutter speed, but I think this is doing it. I don't mind a little bit of a blur in some of the feet, and this is gonna be a point that you get to choose on, is how exactly sharp do you want a, a subject to be, 'cause on a dog running, you wanna see the eyes, and you wanna see the mouth, obviously, the whole head you want us to be able to see really clearly, but a little bit of blur on the feet might be a nice thing to have, and so, gotta play around with these shutter speeds a little bit. Start a little bit slow, and then move up as fast as you need to, and then, find that sweet spot where you think it looks the best. So hopefully that helps you see how I work things in the real world. Now, if I'm gonna be photographing Lola on a regular basis, I've already done the research. I know that I need a thousandth of a second to photograph, and so, maybe I'll shoot at 500th, maybe I'll shoot at 2,000, and so, I've figured that all out, and so, as you go out, you're gonna need to do your own testing, and so, in order to do your testing, I have come up with a number of learning projects for you to go out there and start shooting and keeping track of what you're doing, and learning from your experience, and so, as part of this class, I've put together the Learning Projects Workbook here, and the first project in here is your shutter speed test, and there is gonna be step-by-step guide to kinda go through what you saw in that video, and then, there's a bunch of places down here where you can record your results, and you know, keep track of what you're doing. Now, luckily, modern cameras keep track of the shutter speeds and apertures and ISOs they set, so you don't need to take exact notes on everything, but you may wanna go, "Oh okay, this shutter speed worked for this on me," and do this for different types of subjects in different ways. The more you do this, the more you'll just get to know these things off the top of your head, and once you have a lot of experience, you'll be able to walk into a situation that's brand new and go, "I've never shot this before, "but I betcha this shutter speed would work," and you'll probably be pretty close, and you always gotta fine-tune it for the situation, and the lens, and the angle, and everything else, but having a good understanding is just, really it's one of the most important things about being a photographer because we capture moments, and this is the definition of the moment, how long a moment do you wanna to choose, and so, it's very important to get to know what your shutter speeds are, and all their effects.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Fundamentals of Photography Class Outline
Learning Projects Workbook
Camera Keynote PDF
Sensor Keynote PDF
Lens Keynote PDF
Exposure Keynote PDF
Focus Keynote PDF
Gadgets Keynote PDF
Lighting Keynote PDF
Editing Keynote PDF
Composition Keynote PDF
Photographic Vision Keynote PDF

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan

Student Work