Particularly when photographing children, there are times when a fast shutter speed is needed to freeze motion such as jumping, swinging or running.  I am often asked, how fast does the shutter speed need to be?

To capture someone mid-air (or mid-fast movement) I use shutter speeds upwards of 1/640s.  So when shooting in Manual Mode, and freezing motion is my priority, I will set the Shutter Speed first and then balance my ISO and Aperture accordingly.  If you use the Aperture or Shutter Priority modes, then you would use Shutter Priority for these occasions and choose a shutter speed upwards of 1/640s. 

shutter-speed
1
/1250s

fast-shutter-speeds
1/640s

using-fast-shutter-speeds
1/640s

photography-fast-shutter-speeds
1/3200s

With the above photo of Imogen on the swing, you can see a very fast shutter speed has been used (1/3200s).  This motion would also have been frozen at a slower shutter speed, such as 1/800s – this faster shutter speed has simply been used to balance the ISO (400) and aperture (f/2.2) I was already using for the series of photos prior.

I will add a quick disclaimer to say, the shutter speed that is fast enough to freeze the motion will be dependent on your lens’ focal length, the available light, how fast the person is moving and the ISO and aperture values you have chosen.

For more how-to on shooting in Manual Mode, you might like to check out a Love Your Camera workshop!