How to Select Lenses and Apply Shutter Speed for High Quality Photos

What makes a great photo? Is it the angle? The lighting? The scenery? Or is it something else entirely?There is no one answer to that question. But there are factors that can help you take better photos. Lenses and shutter speed are two of these factors, and they are an excellent place to start if you’re looking to up your photography game. Other factors like the aperture of your lens (the size of the opening of the lens), and the ISO (how sensitive your camera is to light), also affect the quality of your photo.

Apart from that, you will also need to set your zoom capability and focus right to take great pictures. Whether you’re using a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera, it’s essential to understand how these work together to get the best results. 

And regardless of what photography style you practice一portraits, landscapes, sports, or anything else, take a step ahead by learning all you can about camera features that make great shots.

Lenses and Shutter Speed

What is it that makes these two factors so important?

Lenses and shutter speed are integral to how your camera works. Because both work together to capture light and create an image, it’s no surprise that the final outcome of your photo will be affected by how they interact. With the aperture working in-between the lens and the shutter speed, the exposure of your image is greatly affected.

Now that we know that let’s take a closer look at each one.


A camera lens is a piece of glass (or plastic) that helps to focus the light coming into your camera. Lenses come in all shapes and sizes and are measured in millimeters (mm). When purchasing any lens, it is crucial to consider the size of the lens because it affects the field of view and the amount of light that comes into the camera.

person holding camera lens

The field of view is determined by the focal length of the lens, which is the distance (in mm) from the center of the lens to the point where the light rays meet. A shorter focal length means a wider field of view, while a longer focal length results in a narrower field.

The amount of light that comes into the camera is determined by the lens’s aperture, which is the size of the opening in the lens. The bigger the opening, the more light that comes in. Lenses with large apertures (measured in f-stop numbers like f/2.8 or f/4) are called “fast” lenses because they let in more light. Lenses with small apertures (measured in f-stop numbers like f/11 or f/16) are called “slow” lenses because they let in less light.

There are different types of lenses, but the one you choose will depend on what kind of photography you are into. For instance, if you’re into landscape photography, you’ll want a lens that allows you to capture a lot of detail in your shots. A wide-angle lens is a good option in this case.

On the other hand, if what you do is portrait photography, you’ll want a lens that allows you to get up close with your subjects. A telephoto lens will then be what you need.

The bottom line is that no matter what type of photography you’re into, there’s a lens out there that’s perfect for you. But first, you need to know which one to use and how to use it with the right shutter speed.

What type of lens are there, and what should you look out for in each of them?

Different camera bodies require different lens designs. For this reason, always check before making a purchase. DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are either full-frame or crop sensors. While full-frame lenses can be used on a crop sensor, a lens designed for a crop sensor can’t be used on a full frame! So, ensure you purchase the right lens for your camera. The following are the types of lenses your camera might need.

#1. Zoom Lens

The zoom lens is a must-have for photographers. This small but powerful device can capture moments from far away and up close with just the push of a button!

If you cover anything from wedding events to sports or wildlife, then this is definitely the camera for you. With a focal point of 70 to 200 mm, its adaptability and versatility is second to none.

#2. Standard Prime Lens 

Standard lenses are great for general photography. With a standard lens, you can capture images that look natural. Standard lenses typically have a focal length of 35mm to 85mm.

The upside is you get to shoot in a more general range while still having a fast lens. But because it operates with a fixed focal lens, it is not as versatile as other options. It is best suited for taking still, close-up, and portraits.

#3. Wide Angle Lens

If you are into landscape or architecture photography, a wide-angle lens is a great option. It has a large field of view and can capture much detail. It is perfect for landscape photography, especially because it allows you to capture a lot of detail in your shots. 

A wide-angle lens’ field of view is larger than what the human eye can see, and with this type of lens, you can get close to your subject while still capturing the background. Wide angle lenses typically have a focal length of 14mm to 35mm.

#4. Macro Lens

With Macro lens, you can take close-up shots and personal pictures with your subject. Also, you can capture images of things that are naturally tiny. Macro lenses typically have a focal length of 35mm to 200mm.

This type of lens is perfect for taking close-up shots of small objects. It allows you to get up close with your subject and still capture a lot of detail.

#5. Fisheye Lens

Fisheye lenses are great for photography that requires you to capture a wide field of view. With a fisheye lens, you can capture images with a lot of distortion. Fisheye lenses typically have a focal length of 8mm to 15mm.

#6.Telephoto Lens

Telephoto lenses are great for taking pictures that require you to be far away from your subject. With a telephoto lens, you can zoom in on your subject and still get a clear image. Telephoto lenses typically have a focal length of 85mm or more. You can use this for sports, wildlife, and action.

Telephoto lenses come in short, medium, and super-telephoto lens, have different focal lengths and are all great for photography that requires you to be far away from your subject.

Each of them has a focal length of 85mm to 135mm, 135mm to 300mm, and 300mm or more for short, medium, and Super Telephoto, respectively. All the lenses in this family are great for wildlife and action photography as it allows you to get close to your subjects without being too close.

Shutter Speed 

Shutter speed refers to how long the camera’s shutter is open while taking a photograph. The shutter is a physical door inside the camera that opens and closes to let light in. The faster it opens and closes, the less light comes in, and vice versa.

Shutter speed involves fractions of seconds. The faster the shutter speed, the shorter the time the door is open, and vice versa. For example, 1/250 means the shutter door will be open for one-two-hundred-fiftieth of a second.

If you have a fast shutter speed, that means your camera can take in more light in a short amount of time. This is great for taking pictures of moving objects, like sports or wildlife. A fast shutter speed (like 1/250) is excellent for freezing action, while a slow shutter speed (like 1/15) can create cool effects like light trails.

photo taken with fast shutter speed

Remember that your aperture helps in setting your shutter speed to be either slow or fast, and there’s f/1.4, f/2.8, and f/4 available depending on how much light you need to let in.

How Does Shutter Speed Work?

First, shutter speed has the ability to change exposure. When the shutter opens up for a longer time, it lets in more light, resulting in a brighter photo. Conversely, a shorter shutter speed will result in a darker image. That’s why night photography generally has longer shutter speeds while sports photography has shorter ones.

Shutter speeds can help create different artistic effects. For example, a slow shutter speed will show movement, while a fast shutter speed will freeze action.


Lenses and Shutter Speeds work together in photography. Lenses focus the light onto the sensor while shutter speed controls how long the sensor is exposed to the scene you photograph. Together, they allow you to take sharp, detailed pictures in various lighting conditions.

The right setting for your shutter speed will depend on whether you want to take photos that depict movement or clear, crisp pictures that show action. Whatever the case, always pair your camera with the correct shutter speed setting for best results.

For further learning on lenses and shutter speed, check out our classes; Choosing the Right Camera Lens and Fundamentals of Photography.


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