What is Shutter Priority Mode?

S for shutter priority
Shutter Priority

We talked about manual mode, we talked about aperture priority mode and now it’s time to talk about shutter priority.  I’ll keep it pretty short since it’s pretty straight forward.  With everything else, you’re going to want to throw your camera into shutter priority mode and experiment around to see how it works in different circumstances.

What is Shutter Priority?

Shutter priority mode is when you give the camera the control to do everything but adjust your shutter speed, you as the photographer will adjust your shutter speed to capture as much light or motion as you need.  You could call shutter and aperture priority modes semi manual or semi automatic since your camera tries to compensate for whatever setting you adjust by adjusting the opposite to maintain the ideal exposure in your picture.  When you adjust the shutter speed faster typically the camera will adjust aperture and decrease your DOF (depth of field).  DOF is what gives you either a crisp in focus background or a blurred background with all the focus on your subject.  Just remember that when you adjust the shutter speed your camera is adjusting your aperture so your going to want to keep an eye on your settings.

When to use Shutter Priority Mode

When your photographing sports or moving water shutter speed priority may come in handy.  It’s also really great if your just learning the manual mode on your camera and want to see what you can do with the different shutter speeds.  Be aware that the slower the speed of your shutter (anything under 1/60) the more chance you have of blurring a picture because of the slight shake your body has.  The faster your shutter speed the more of a stop motion effect you will get with everything being crisp and clear in the frame, the slower the speed you will get more of a motion effect where water will start to blur and lights will start to leave streaks.  Get creative.

If you want to know more about shutter speed effects on water check out our post on how to photograph moving water.

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