The aperture, shutter, and ISO exposure triangles have always been the basics of taking photos. Among them, the shutter not only has an important position but also can use its characteristics to take some interesting photos. Here are 5 creative techniques for using the shutter.


(A) Super-Fast Shutter Freezes Instantly

Generally, students who are new to photography do not pay much attention to the shutter speed used when shooting. Therefore, when shooting high-speed moving objects, the subject is often blurred, which will hurt the fun and confidence of shooting! As long as you use the ultra-high-speed shutter, you can record water droplets in an instant!

Key techniques:

  • Shutter speeds reach 1/500s, 1/2000s, or even 1/4000s
  • Suitable for shooting in bright light or daylight
  • Need to increase ISO and zoom aperture (e.g. using f/2.8 large aperture)
Freeze action with ultra-fast shutter speed.  (Photo by {link: https: //} På ski i Trysil {/ link})

Freeze action with ultra-fast shutter speed.
(Photo by På ski i Trysil )

(2) Create Abstract Photos

For normal photos, the shutter is too slow and camera shake affects the sharpness of the photo (refer to the article on the safety shutter), but if we plan to use the slow shutter to blur the photo, we can create abstract and beautiful work.

Key Techniques:

  • If it is handheld, the shutter cannot be too slow, you can try the effect at 1/15s or 1/20s
  • If the subject is moving (such as shooting flowers in wind), the shutter can be faster than the above mentioned, so that the degree of blur is within the controlled range
  • You can enlarge the subject to fill the picture
  • Depending on the feeling, the picture can be simple to try at the beginning, and the color should not be too much to avoid excessive confusion.

Rotate your camera while using a slow shutter to get interesting results.  (Photo by {link: https: //} Paul Tomlin {/ link}

Also using a slow shutter, but moving the camera vertically can also take a snapshot.  (Photo by {link: https: //} faungg's photo {/ link})

(3) Slow Shutter Captures Scenes Invisible to the Naked Eye

At night, when you look at the dark place with the naked eye, you may see nothing special, but if you use the camera to slow down the shutter and enlarge the aperture, you can often capture what is not visible to the naked eye. Light, shooting a magical scene!

Key Techniques:

  • A tripod must be used to stabilize the camera when shooting with slow shutter
  • Learn to focus in the night
  • White balance can make your photos more interesting
  • It is recommended to use the shutter cable

Sometimes the light that is invisible to the naked eye does not mean that the camera cannot see it. Try slowing down the shutter!

(4) Slow Shutter Speed can Capture the Flow of People

Do you know how to take a crowd photo on a crowded street? The secret is to use a slow shutter! Although you may not be able to make all the characters “flow”, you can apply this technique to more places!

Key Techniques:

  • Must use a tripod to stabilize the camera
  • Shutter can start from 10 seconds and slow down to minutes or longer
  • A small aperture (e.g. f/16), low ISO makes shutter slower
  • More fun during the daytime
  • If necessary, can also be used with high magnification ND filter (such as ND filter reduced by 10 steps)
Slow shutter can capture crowds.  (Photo by {link: https: //} Geraint Rowland {/ link})

A slow shutter can capture crowds.
(Photo by Geraint Rowland )

(5) Panning Skills to take Dynamic Photos

As mentioned in the first point, an overly fast shutter can freeze for a moment. The panning technique is to use a slow shutter to keep the subject in motion clear, but let the background appear with “motion blur”. This can make the photo full of dynamics, suitable for shooting horizontally moving objects such as race cars or moving animals.

Key Techniques:

  • The shutter can be adjusted to about 1/30s to shoot, the slower the background, the more blurred the background, but the risk of the subject becoming blurred will increase when held
  • Practice often to master
  • Take your hands close to the body when shooting, use the body as the center axis to rotate with the subject left and right
  • See the article PAN mirror shooting skills
Panning effect can add dynamic to photos.  (Photo by {link: https: //} Natesh Ramasamy {/ link})

The panning effect can add dynamic to photos.
(Photo by Natesh Ramasamy )


The shutter is the same as the aperture and ISO. Different settings can change various interesting effects. As long as you can master the skills you can enrich the subject matter of photography!


Author: Alex Tam