Which shutter speed should I use?

Do you get confused by which shutter speed to choose for particular shots? If so, this tutorial is for you.

If you are like me, knowing what shutter speed to use when you are trying to capture a particular type of action can be confusing at times. So I’ve put together a little ‘cheat sheet’ to help you get a good idea as to which shutter speed to use for particular shots.

In terms of how to use this ‘cheat sheet’ I recommend you print it off, stick it in your camera bag and, whenever you get a chance to shoot something more tricky, have a look at it and try out the relevant shutter speed. Alternatively, find yourself a willing volunteer to practice with!

Before you get started; Put your camera into ‘Shutter priority’ mode; to do this set your aperture setting to ‘A’, the ISO setting to Auto and moving your shutter speed dial off the ‘A’ position. This ensures you only need to worry about the shutter speed that you choose and nothing else.

Download the ‘Shutter speed cheat sheet’ here

Star jumps at 1/4000 to freeze motion 

Important tip! As a good rule of thumb, always use a focal length that is equal to or less than the shutter speed when not using a tripod – this will help against unwanted blur in your images. For example if the shutter speed is 1/30, you should shoot with a focal length of 30mm or wider (28mm, 18mm, 16mm etc).

Walking fast at 1/250 to freeze motion

Walking fast at 1/15 for motion blur effect – panning the camera with the subject

Walking fast at 1/4 for motion blur effect – camera on tripod

Important tip! If you find that using a slow shutter speed makes your image overexpose consider shooting with an ND filter or shoot at sunset/sunrise.

These are just a few examples to get you thinking about which shutter speed to use – the cheat sheet should assist with other types of shots.

The most important thing to do is just go out and try them, don’t worry about getting it wrong and blurring your shots, as over time with practice you will start to get the shots that you were hoping to get.

If you have a friend that is interested in photography go and learn this with them. You can bounce ideas off each other to create some great shots. And… you can get them to perform star jumps for you until you get them perfectly sharp and in focus!

Until next time

Happy snapping! 🙂


Author: Dale Young

Dale works at Fujifilm UK HQ in the marketing department. He is an amatuer photographer & musician that loves to be creative and expand his own skills. With all that he learns he tries to give back to the creative community.

8 thoughts on “Which shutter speed should I use?”

    1. Thanks Helen, panning is all down to practice to be honest – just keep trying and you will succeed :-). My advice is to keep the subject within the little square focus box as you move with the subject, also lock your elbows into your sides and rotate on the spot with your hips. Good luck. Dale

  1. Hanna – "Are you aware that you have got the key to a kingdom. The love you have for nature is priceless." She was right, the lady at the cabin in Norway. My joy is great when I'm on a walk. I would like to share that joy with you. My name is Hanna, and I live north of Copenhagen, Denmark. My walks are mainly in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Get inspired. There are more keys out there. Let me know if you have questions concerning my walks.
    Hanna says:

    Thanks a lot, Dale for tip and wishes 🙂

  2. thefujifreak – Serious amateur photographer with almost 50 years photography experience based in south Cheshire in the UK. Currently using Fujifilm X-Pro2, X-T1 & X-Pro1. My main interests are landscape, architecture and travel. I prefer black & white images, preferably those in a square format, but colour images in a 7x5 format are also very acceptable.
    thefujifreak says:

    Reblogged this on The Fuji Freak and commented:
    During the past week several folk have made comment that they would like to improve their images. I said that I would write one or two tutorials to help those interested in improving, after all, this is one of the directions I want to take my with my blog. I’d been thinking about where to start when…

    Well, Fujifilm UK came to my aid by posting the tutorial you’ll find links to below on their blog! It features shutter speeds and how to use them to best effect.

    I’d like to thank Fujifilm UK for providing the opportunity to reblog their post and hope that those of my followers who want to improve their work will find it useful.

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