How to Master Shutter Priority Mode on Your DSLR

When making the switch from point and shoot cameras to DSLRs, one aspect of the DSLR that can be confusing is determining when to use the camera’s various modes. Under shutter priority mode, the camera will allow you to set the shutter speed for a particular scene, and the camera then will select the other settings (such as aperture and ISO) based on the shutter speed you’ve selected.

Shutter speed is the measurement of the amount of time that the shutter on the DSLR camera is open. As the shutter is open, light from the subject strikes the camera’s image sensor, creating the photo. A fast shutter speed means the shutter is open for a shorter period of time, meaning less light reaches the image sensor. A slow shutter speed means more light reaches the image sensor.

Figuring out when it’s a good idea to make use of shutter priority mode may be trickier than actually using it. Try these tips to figure out how to determine when it’s best to use shutter priority mode and to use different shutter speeds.

More Light Allows Faster Shutter Speeds

With bright external light, you can shoot at a faster shutter speed, because more light is available to strike the image sensor in a short period of time. With low-light conditions, you need a slower shutter speed, so enough light can strike the image sensor while the shutter is open to create the image.

Faster shutter speeds are important for capturing fast-moving subjects. If the shutter speed is not fast enough, a fast-moving subject may appear blurry in the photo.

This is where shutter priority mode can be beneficial. If you need to shoot a fast-moving subject, you can use shutter priority mode to set a much faster shutter speed than the camera might select on its own in fully automatic mode. You’ll then have a much better chance of capturing a sharp photo.

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