Alongside aperture and ISO, shutter speed is one of the three key factors that determines how your photographs will look. While many things in photography can be confusing and counter-intuitive, shutter speed is extremely straight-forward.
Shutter speed is simply a measure of the time the camera takes to take a picture, more specifically, how long the camera’s shutter is open and the image sensor is exposed to light. In order to freeze fast-moving subjects, you need to have a very, very short shutter speed, like 1/1000 of a second. On the other end, you can use a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second or longer to add motion blur to a photograph.
But shutter speed is not all numbers and figures, it can be used to influence style and change the overall intent of an image. You can use a fast shutter speed to freeze a race car on a track and have a very sharp image, or you can use a slower shutter speed and have the race car blurred in the image. Both images are technically “correct” but they say very different things about the speed of the car.
The great minds over at Techquickie made a quick video to explain the basics of shutter speed.