Manipulating shutter speed stops and exposure

By adjusting shutter speed stops, you can control the brightness of a photo and suggest motions.

Shutter speed and exposure stops are simpler ways to measure light in photography. Adjusting ‘one-stop up’ means you’re doubling the amount of light in a photo and vice versa. With a deep understanding of exposure stops and shutter speeds, you’ll use light and motion to tell stories.

What is a shutter speed stop?

The amount of light entering your camera depends on when the shutter opens and closes. The longer the shutter stays open, the slower the shutter speed, resulting in more exposure to light. The shorter the shutter stays open, the faster the shutter speed making less light come in. A one-stop exposure increase requires twice as much light, which means double the shutter speed.

Cameras generally have a dial that allows the shutter speed to be adjusted by 1/3 stop up or down. This means turning the dial three times increases one stop.

Tips on setting shutter speed stops

Since the shutter speed greatly determines exposure, it’s important to understand when you should increase and decrease the shutter speed.

If you’re shooting a subject in motion, you’ll get different effects at different shutter speeds. Fast shutter speeds mean less light coming through, and you can ‘freeze’ action without much blur. In contrast, slow shutter speeds lets more light in creating a motion-blur effect. Slow shutter speeds are used to express movement in photos.

Check out these tips to learn more about exposure and other important aspects of photography. Explore how Adobe Lightroom can take your photos to the next level.