Special Effects Photography - The Camera Shutter Speed As A Creative Tool

Photographers have many tools at their disposal. Shutter speed is one example. You can use the shutter speed of your camera as a creative tool to enhance your photographs and open up new possibilities. Over the years, photographers have used shutter speed to manipulate images and create amazing works of art.

Basics of Shutter Speed

It’s easy to forget about basic shutter operation in digital cameras. The shutter speed refers to the time the shutter stays open while the camera captures the image. The shutter, which is used for film rather than digital formats, allows the film to be exposed to light to produce the best possible image.

The shutter speed determines how fast it opens and closes. This is ideal for outdoor shots where the sun is shining brightly, and excessive exposure can cause blurring. The shutter speed is slower and more light can be allowed to pass through the film.

There are many variables to consider when setting the shutter speed. However, changing the shutter speed in certain situations can open up a world of creative possibilities. That’s why the camera’s shutter speed can be an incredible creative tool.


Panning is a great artistic tool to add to your photography arsenal. The shutter speed is increased slightly, and the focus on one object is maintained. However, background images are blurred. Increase the speed to 1/40th and 1/30th, respectively, to focus on a vehicle moving or a fixed object. Take the shot by keeping the image in the middle of your field of vision.

The main image will remain sharp despite being partially blurred. However, the background will blur around it. You will be amazed at the possibilities that this type of panning can offer.

Zoom Flares

This shutter speed creative tool can be done with a tripod. The tripod can be used to place the camera on the tripod. Focus on one object in the distance, such as a building: slow shutter speed and your hand on the zooming feature of the lens. Take the shot. This simple technique will allow the object to remain in focus and create a hazing effect around it.

Light Painting

The light painting will be covered in another article. However, this technique requires a slow shutter speed in dark settings. Use light to move the shutter. The effect will be obvious, and you can experiment with light painting techniques and patterns.

You will be able to create powerful new tools once you are more comfortable with the shutter speed of your camera. Photography can be a combination of abstract artistic integrity and the pure essence of photography, which opens up a world of possibilities for any photographer of any skill level.

Wayne Burke is an expert in Media Arts and invites you to expand your photography knowledge.