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Learn By Doing Photography

Learn by Doing Photography – Freezing Time with a Fast Shutter Speed

Learn by Doing Photography – Practice your photography skills with weekly photography assignments. I will post a new assignment every Friday, you can post your pictures at the bottom of this post or on the DigitalCamFan Facebook. If you have any questions please refer to the guidelines, if you have no questions jump right in any time!

Photography Assignment #3 – Take a picture using a fast shutter speed

A fast shutter speed will freeze motion while a slow shutter speed shows motion.This week we’re going to be freezing motion with our camera, next week will be about showing motion using a slow shutter speed.

For this weeks assignment I headed to the Clark Fork River to find some fast rapids to freeze in time.  It was a very crisp morning with temperatures right around *10, the fog just starting to lift made for a beautiful morning walk. Although I didn’t last too long out there and ended up heading indoors for a hot cup of coffee to warm my fingers.


I started hiking East, but found only calm water, and the ones I saw I couldn’t really get close to. The picture I took below wasn’t my favorite, but it did freeze the motion of the water using a shutter speed of 1/500sec


Exposure is about the total amount of light entering your camera. There are three ways to control the light – Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed. The first week we talked about aperture, last week was ISO which brings us to shutter speed today. Here are a few tips when using a higher shutter speed:

What number is used for a high shutter speed?

The bigger the number the faster your shutter speed is (1/1000 is much faster than 1/15). So a fast shutter speed like 1/1000 of a second is opening and closing extremely fast which means less light has time to enter.

How to focus using a high shutter speed?

change your focus mode to AI Servo Mode for Canon and Continuous Focus Mode for Nikon, this will allow you to continually focus on your subject while they are moving.

The other way is to pre-focus where the action is going to be. If someone is running a race and you see them running toward the finish line. You can pre-focus on the finish line and snap the picture right when they cross.

How to control shutter speed?

You can try it a couple ways you can either set your camera to “shutter priority”. This way you choose the shutter speed and the camera will control the aperture.

There is also “Aperture Priority” mode on most camera’s. When using this setting you choose the aperture and the camera will choose the shutter speed.

Does focal length matter?

Yes, the longer your focal length the faster your shutter speed needs to be to freeze the motion. As you zoom in with a telephoto lens the size and motion of your subject become more pronounced.

Another great video tutorial on Freezing Motion by SnapFactory:

Next Week Learn by Doing Assignment #4 – Slow Shutter Speed

Related posts:

Learn By Doing - Focal Length (Assignment #7)
Learn By Doing - Meter using dusky blue sky
Learn by Doing Photography - Long Exposure


2 Responses to “Learn by Doing Photography – Freezing Time with a Fast Shutter Speed”

  1. Tried to add my link via Linky above, but seems to be bugged. Each time I selected an image from my blog, it would redirect me to the images of another website. Finally gave up.

    I just posted my images from this assignment: http://www.aprettyrock.com/re-learning-the-ropes-freezing-time/

    It was lots of fun catching the girl frozen in the air!

    Posted by Yazmin | February 6, 2013, 7:34 pm
  2. Those are great, thanks for sharing them! And thanks for the heads up on the Linky tool, I will check it out!

    Posted by admin | February 6, 2013, 7:55 pm

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