You can achieve very different images by controlling how long you have your shutter open for. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. A fast shutter speed (eg 1/1000th of a second) can freeze motion while a slow shutter speed (eg 10 seconds) will blur anything that’s moving.
A common scenario for using a fast shutter speed to freeze motion is this photo below of a seagull I photographed in Brighton in the UK. The shutter speed I used was 1/2500th of a second which has made everything look sharp.
A popular scenario where a slow shutter speed is used is when a photographer wants to blur moving water. In the photo below I had the camera on a tripod and photographed the waterfall at a shutter speed of 1 second.
Here's a video of me photographing a beach with a slow shutter speed, here are the basics:
- Put your camera on a tripod so the camera doesn't move
- Set your shutter speed to something slow eg 10 seconds (experiment with different speeds to see which you like the best)
- Depending how bright the scene is, you may need an ND (neutral density) filter which will darken the scene like sunglasses allowing you to achieve a correct exposure.
- Everything that moves while the shutter is open will be blurred and everything that stays still will be sharp