Eclass 4

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.” – John Berger

John Berger’s statement expresses the relationship between light and time that help to create the perfect exposure where there is detail in both the highlights and the shadows in your photo.

How will this lesson help you?

Following these easy steps will help you to use the shutter settings on your camera with confidence and so improve your photo results.


The shutter in your camera is the device that moves across an opening to allow light in. How quickly the shutter moves controls how much light is let in.

Understanding and controlling light reaching the sensor of your camera is one of the main keys to successful photography.

Three ways of controlling light are;

  • Aperture
  • Shutter speed and
  • ISO

In this lesson we will learn about Shutter Speed

In This Lesson You Will

  • Find where you can change the shutter speed on your camera.
  • Use different shutter speeds and see the difference that makes in your photos.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds to create different atmospheres
  • Keep a record of the different effects from different shutter speeds

This lesson should take about 30 minutes but remember the more time you spend the better you get.


Before you do this lesson make sure you have printed and put into your Photography Journal the photos from Eclasses 1, 2 and 3.

Equipment needed;

  1. A Smart Phone Camera OR a Compact Camera OR an SLR camera with a medium telephoto lens.
  2. A tripod or stand to keep your camera still when using a slow shutter speed.

Part 1.


For Smart Phone, Compact Camera and SLR Camera Users

  • If you use the program or automatic setting on your camera your camera will control these settings to allow in the amount of light that it sees as being correct. In most cases this will give a reasonable photo but not always.
  • If you use Sports Mode (a diagram of people running) it will give a fast shutter speed to ‘freeze’ the movement.
  • SLR Cameras need a shutter speed of at least 1/125 of a second or faster to freeze very quick movement.
  • Sometimes blurred movement can be an effective way to show speed. It’s all about creative control.

To Do

  1. Remember your learning from Eclass 1 and make sure you have turned on the grid and use it in all the following photos, Eclass 2 check your settings for Resolution and Camera Modes, Eclass 3 check your Aperture settings.
  2. For Smart Phone and Compact camera users set your camera onto Sports Mode.
  3. SLR Camera users place your camera into Shutter Speed Priority. This means you set the speed and the camera sets the aperture.
  4. To freeze movement the shutter speed needs to be 1/125th of a second or faster
  5. Search for some interesting action, kids playing on a trampoline, kids skipping, kids skateboarding, a dog playing fetch, the list is endless.
  6. Freeze the movement by using a fast shutter speed and take several shots.
  7. Reset your camera to a Portrait Setting for Smart Phones and Compact Cameras
  8. Set you shutter speed to 1/60th of a second for SLR Cameras
  9. Compose and shoot several photos.
  10. Take two photographs of moving water (a sprinkler, waves, a fountain, a water feature) at a fast and a slow shutter speed. The fast shutter speed will freeze the droplets, the slow shutter speed  will give a milky flow.
  11. Take a few photos using a fast shutter speed – 1/125th of a second or Sports Mode.
  12. Take  a few photos using a slow shutter speed 1/60th of a second  using Portrait and Landscape mode to vary the composition.
  13. Compare the results.
  14. Experiment with subjects moving across in front of you, moving towards you and compare the results.
Helicopter Notice This was taken at 1/500th of a second and the movement of the helicopter’s rotor has been stopped or ‘frozen’.
Corellas In Flight2

Notice The slow shutter speed shows the movement.

Part 2.


  1. Download and Print off your photos.
  2. Paste the photos you have taken on a sheet of A4 paper and place them in your folder.
  3. Under each photo write a comment, do you like the result? What is it about the photo you like? What will you do differently next time?

Photo Speak – Special photography words used in this lesson
Exposure – The control of light to make  a photograph.
‘Freeze’ movement- Stop the movement with no blurring.
Shutter speed –The speed the shutter moves to let in light

Congratulations on finishing Lesson 4 !!! Give Yourself A Treat!
You Can Now Control Movement in your photos

This is the next step in your Photographic Journey to Success. Paste your photos on the page below and comment on your results.
To keep following this path set aside a regular time slot in your week so you can get the best results for your efforts.

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