how shutter works in DSLR camera

How Shutter Works in DSLR Camera?

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All the professional photographers understand how shutter works in DSLR camera. They use it to block and allowing the light. There is an immense scope of creativity in photography, if you play with shutter speed.

Press a release/click button and you hear a sound in your DSLR camera. This sound pops up through a shutter. Why there is a shutter in DSLR camera?

The shutter is related to the light which enters into the camera. Electronic shutter gives photographers the advantage to play with light. Let’s explore how shutter in DSLR camera works?

How Shutter Works In DSLR?

How do we see things around us? You know this basic concept of science. Light from the source travels in straight lines.

When it hits the objects, It bounces off and enters into our eyes. The reflected light helps us to see the objects. Eyelids work as a shutter for blocking the light.

how shutter works in DSLR camera

DSLR Shutter works like eyelid to block the reflected light.

In the similar way, there is a shutter which works as eyelids in the camera.  The shutter in the DSLR camera is a very powerful tool. It can control the light by blocking it with in a set time frame.

All the professional photographers understand its potential to block and allowing the light. There is an immense scope of creativity in photography, if you play with shutter speed.

You can capture motion blur, star trails, group of stars and light painting. You can achieve it by playing with different shutter speeds.

Shutter Speed And Light:

The shutter in DSLR camera is managed with speed per second (e.g. 1/125s). The DSLR comes with an embedded different speeds. You have to choose the speed by the command dial of the camera.

The set speed determines the opening and closing time of shutter. The shutter functions by pressing the release/click button.

Once you press the release button, the shutter goes up (opens) and let the reflected light come in. The longer the shutter is opened, the more reflected light it allows to enter into the camera. 

how shutter works in DSLR camera

Command dial helps in setting the shutter speed.


Why Your Photos Are Extra Bright/Black?

If photos are too bright, It means, you have left the shutter opened for much longer time than expected. If the shutter gets closed quickly, It will block the light immediately.

It means, your photos can be under-exposed and there will be higher amount of shadow. When available light can not enter into the sensor in desired amount, it exposes the photo very dark (under-exposed).

You have to understand making the perfect balance between light and shadow.

how shutter works in DSLR camera

Fast shutter speed works like this. It blocks the light very quickly.


In the case of harsh sun light, you can choose fast shutter speed more than 1/320th of a second. Fast shutter speed blocks the light very quick.

If the sun is very low and ambient light is not enough, choose the slow shutter speed below 1/100th of a second.

There is no thumb rule to pick a fixed shutter speed for particular scene. Every photographer learns the art of playing with shutter speed by continuous practice.

What Makes Photos Blurry?

Shutter speed also controls the amount of blurring and sharpness other than aperture and ISO. Slow shutter speed like 1/25th of a second will result in blurry picture, if your hands do not stay steady.

Well, nobody have a steady hands to such an extent. We, all professionals adapt this with incessant efforts. That is why, tripod saves us in such cases.

how shutter works in DSLR camera

A shot made with 1/25 of a second, resulted in blurring the hand purposely to show the movement.

1/25th speed of a second takes longer to close the shutter. Either DSLR gets shaken between opening and closing the shutter or targeted subject moves!

Both situations make picture blurry except the targeted subject is well focused. In case, you are not carrying a tripod, there is a trick to avoid the blurry image.

Hold your breath till the time shutter closes. Or, nudge your elbow in the stomach to keep your hand steady! By practicing these, You can avoid blurred photos.

But It may not work always if it is biting cold in the air! You may be shivering all the time. If you are a landscape photographer, Keep tripod in your bag always.

Read also: How DSLR Camera Focuses?

There is an another mechanism in DSLR. It is known as Aperture priority. The correct settings of aperture and shutter make a well exposed photo. These two components have limitations too.

The ISO sensitivity works as a powerful tool in such limitations. You need to learn exposing the subject correctly.  Exposure meter is very helpful in such cases.

It is a built-in technology. We will talk about the exposure meter, ISO sensitivity in the next blog. Read about aperture here.

We have avoided many broader technical details/jargons purposely to avoid the confusion for beginners. Stay connected with us through our social network pages. We will be posting more content related to photography. Keep sharing the knowledge with others as well. 

Siddharth Malkania

Siddharth Malkania is a journalism graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication. Having worked as a photojournalist for two years, he traveled to Tokyo, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam to brush up his skills of photography. Currently, He is a professional photographer based in New Delhi, India.

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