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Shutter Speed or Aperture?

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What is the most important thing to consider when creating a photo?

squirrel on grass
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When it comes time for me to be artistic, and just take photos that might be for sale (CLICK HERE ), there is usually only 2 things I consider when creating a photo.

1- what would I like to have for my depth of field?

2- Is Shutter speed important in creating this photo?

And most of the time, the choice is usually, the depth of field. This is something that cell phone photography can not do well. In fact, it’s quite difficult to do with even the pro version smart phone cameras. To understand why I pick “Depth of Field” over anything as the MOST IMPORTANT item to set on my camera is: The control over the amount of area that I want to be in focus is the most critical to me.


First of all, make sure you understand what depth of field can do for you, and how to adjust your aperture setting (F stop) to get the desired effect.

Here is the technical explanation of “depth of field”. Or in easy terms: the amount of area before and after the main subject that is reasonably in focus. That is done by simply changing your aperture setting on your camera.

F22 or F2.8?

See what impact the change of the aperture has on simple flower photos, or anything close-up. As you can see the F2.8 is usually the most desired choice. The F22 image makes the image too confusing.

If you are doing portraits, the pick of your aperture setting is critical. Let’s highlight just the person, by blurring out the background.

Usually in portraits in particular, the ideal aperture setting is not right at F2, or F22, but somewhere in the middle. You want to make sure that the person is in focus from front to back.

Schärfentiefe bei Blendenwert 4

In a portrait, you can see that if the aperture is set too far to the extreme (like this one shot at F1.8) you can get the front eye in focus, and the back eye out of focus. And ideally F5.6 is perfect for portraits.


At this point, the shutter speed is not important. So, if you want to take your photo and the most important thing you can do is to get the aperture set right. Who cares what the Shutter speed is. This is where you can either shoot in manual mode OR shoot in “AV” or Aperture priority automatic. Here you would pick the “AV” or Aperture Value, and the camera will pick the shutter speed to get the correct exposure.

Image credit: Lanny Cottrell Photography

Note that usually with scenery, you want everything in focus, the foreground the background, just about everything. So with that you would be setting your aperture at F16 or F22 to get the best photo.

When do I concentrate on the Shutter Speed settings?

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Shutter speeds are controlled when I want to stop action, or blur action. Like this:

woman horseback riding in arena
Photo by Lucas Albino on Pexels.com

When I am taking photos of action photography, then I want to choose my shutter speed, so I can stop action like this above photo.

nature water waterfall kuang si falls
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A slow shutter speed, for example: 1 full second shutter speed, and let the aperture go automatic or set it manually, but a slow shutter speed of 1 second will give me the results like this waterfall above.


Know what type of photo and what setting would be the most important in order to get the photo you want. If you need more understanding of aperture and shutter speed settings, go to THIS BLOG.

A true artist in photography knows what settings to use to get the desired effect. Learn about those camera settings so you understand what to do in setting up your “masterpiece”.

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