If you have just started photography, you may not be knowing when to use fast shutter speed and when not to. The fact that you are not using the right speed might be one of the main reasons for blurry images. In this article, I will share the different situations where you need to go with a higher shutter speed. I will also share the camera mode and other camera settings to use for such photography.

When to Use Fast Shutter Speed?

You can use fast shutter speed in the following situations.

1. To Freeze Action

Different Fast Shutter Speed Photography Situations

When you photograph action shots, your main aim is to freeze the action. 

For action photography, you need to use a higher shutter speed. Otherwise, due to the motion of subjects in the frame, the subject will appear blurry in the image

Fast shutter speed for birds in flight

If you look at the above image of the Mountain Hawk Eagle, a high shutter speed value of 1/2000 has helped to freeze the bird in flight.

2. For Correct Exposure

When you do a photoshoot outdoors in daylight, you may be going with maximum aperture to get a nice background blur. 

The large aperture will let more light enter into the camera. You will be using the lowest possible ISO in the camera. 

With these camera settings, you need to go for a fast shutter speed to get the correct exposure even if the subject in the frame is stationary. 

Otherwise, you will end up with an overexposed image.

bird portrait photography

In the above image of the Green-tailed sunbird, I had to use a shutter speed of 1/1600 to perfectly expose the bird without blowing out the highlights.

When Not to Use Fast Shutter Speed?

There are situations where you must not use fast shutter speeds.

1. For Long exposure photography

When you do long exposure photography, you want the shutter to remain open for a long time. So, slow shutter speed is recommended in such situations.

A good example of a long exposure image is the star trails.

2. Landscape photography

landscape photography

When it comes to photographing landscapes, you will use a tripod for most of your shots.

There are no fast-moving subjects in the scene in the case of a landscape image.

Thus, there is no need for shooting at higher speed, unless there is heavy wind in the scene.

3. For Panning Shots

When you capture panning shots, you want to feel the motion in the frame. 

Here, the basic technique is to blur the other elements in the scene in the direction of motion to show the movement of the subject in the frame.

So, you must not shoot at a higher speeds for panning shots..

4. Low Light conditions While Using Flash

In low light conditions, you want more light to enter the camera. Only then you will get a good exposure. Otherwise, the image will appear dark.

It is always good to go with slow or medium shutter speed for such shots.

Otherwise, you need to light up the scene with the help of artificial lights. If you want to depict the motion in the scene in the image, you need to shoot at a slow shutter speed. Otherwise, the subject in motion will be freezed in the frame.

5. When You Want Motion Blur

If you want to depict the motion in the scene in the image, you need to shoot at a slow shutter speed.

Otherwise, the subject in motion will be frozen in the frame.

6. While Using Flash

When you use flash and go for higher shutter speed, sometimes there can be black banding on the edges or the corners of the picture.

It happens only when you shoot at extreme speeds. 

How to Set Fast Shutter Speed?

You can set a fast shutter speed in any camera. You can do it in all camera modes except for the Automatic mode and the Aperture priority mode.

1. Set the camera mode to Manual or Shutter priority mode. 

2. Now, you will be able to see the shutter speed option. It will be in numerical form like 1/60, 1/120, etc. 

3. Select this option from the menu. Use this rotating dial to set the shutter speed to a desired high number.

4. If you are in Shutter priority mode, you can set the ISO value too. The camera will give you the aperture value for the correct exposure.

Manual Mode

5. If you are in Manual mode, you need to set the aperture and ISO value also. You can go for an ISO value according to the lighting conditions. Set the aperture in such a way that you get a properly exposed image.

How does a Fast Shutter Speed affect a Photo?

The fast shutter speed does have an impact on the image. It affects the image exposure.

Thus, the picture will look dark if there is no sufficient light in the frame.

You need to shoot with maximum aperture for such an image to get proper exposure. It can lead to the blurring of unnecessary elements in the scene, especially the elements in the background.

You will also have to increase the ISO for such shots. When you increase the ISO, the noise also increases in the image, especially if it is not a well-lit scene.

What Shutter Speed is the Fastest?

Fastest Shutter speed

Any speed of 1/500 or above is considered a fast shutter speed. 

The 1/8000 value is considered as the fastest shutter speed. 

Some cameras do not support this value. Such cameras will have a fastest shutter speed of 1/4000.