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Online Photography Course
The Creative Use of Shutter Speed

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: The Creative Use of Shutter SpeedLearn how to create dazzling photos through the creative use of shutter speed. In this exciting 4-week online course - taught by pro photographer and author Doug Steakley - we will photograph a variety of subjects and shoot at various shutter or exposure speeds to see the differences. Fast exposures freeze the action, for example, while slower exposures allow subject motion to become soft or blurry. The class will also examine how aperture and ISO settings work together with shutter speeds to create different photographic effects.
Key Features

  1. Using fast and slow shutter speeds while photographing moving water
  2. Sports, action, and wildlife photography - how to freeze or blur the action
  3. Panning a subject
  4. Experiment with different effects of long exposures, including moving the camera while the shutter is open, fireworks, moonlight photography and star trails.

  • Start taking exciting photos through the creative use of shutter speed!
  • Learn the relationship between aperture, ISO setting and shutter speeds and how to control the appearance of images with movement by slowing down or speeding up the exposure time.
  • Receive careful instruction and guidance each step of the way along with personal feedback that will assist you in taking strong images.
  • Take your photography to the next level by varying the exposure times, shooting at night, changing the appearance of moving water and learn how to pan images. Create artistic or impressionistic images by moving the camera while the shutter is open.
  • New and improved! Updates the instructor's previous Photographing Motion course.

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Doug  Steakley Doug Steakley
Douglas Steakley is a widely published photographer from Carmel Valley, California. His distinct images range from the Monterey Peninsula to many international destinations where he enjoys traveling.

Two large-format books featuring his color photography have been published: Pacific Light, Images of The Monterey Peninsula, in 2000, and Big Sur and Beyond, The Legacy of The Big Sur Land Trust, in 2001. Pacific Light won an Honorable Mention from the National Outdoor Book Awards in 2001. A third book, A Photographer’s Guide To The California Coast, was published in 2005, by Countryman Press. Doug is currently working on a fourth book, A Photographer's Guide To The Big Sur Coast, which will be released in 2010.

Photographs by Doug Steakley have received awards in many photography contests including those sponsored by National Geographic Traveler magazine, Petersen’s Photographic magazine and The National Park Service. He recently won a two week safari to Africa as the Grand Prize Winner in a photography contest co-sponsored by National Geographic and Energizer batteries.

Doug supports and works closely with several land conservation groups and a variety of his images have been published in annual reports and a variety of other publications. He has worked with The Big Sur Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Land Trust Alliance, The Trust For Public Land, The Wilderness Coalition, The Tuolumne River Trust and The Monterey County Regional Park District. In 2003, he received the Ansel Adams Award from The Sierra Club for his conservation photography.

His images have been widely published in many local, national and international magazines including Architectural Digest, Backpacker, Outside, Better Homes and Gardens, Art and Antiques, Private Pilot, Luxury Living, The Robb Report, and Town and Country. He regularly contributes to travel catalogs published by Wilderness Travel, Mountain Travel and others.

Recent one-person exhibitions of Doug's photography include The Pacific Grove Art Center, The Fireside Gallery at the Highlands Inn, The Monterey Conference Center, The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, The Maureen Doud Gallery in The Sunset Center, and The Gallery at The Blackstone Winery in Gonzales.

Doug's stock photography is represented world-wide by Lonely Planet Images.
Doug currently serves as treasurer on the board of directors of The Center For Photographic Art in Carmel, California.

Aside from photography, Doug is an avid cyclist and recently completed his third Markleeville Death Ride in the Sierras.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Doug Steakley 

© Doug Steakley 

Course Outline


Lesson 1 - Using Fast and Slow Shutter Speeds While Photographing Moving Water
When taking a photograph that has movement as part of the image, the appearance of whatever is moving will be very different depending upon the shutter speed that is selected.  Most of us have some understanding of how this works, and in this lesson, we will explore shutter speed and motion in more depth.
Assignment: The assignment for Lesson One is to find moving water and take a series of images with varying shutter speeds to see the different effects. Moving water could be the ocean, a river or stream, a waterfall, fountain or water from a garden hose or faucet. The idea is to become comfortable with shooting at a low ISO using different apertures, using a polarizer filter and realizing the different effects of moving water caused by fast and slow shutter speeds.

Lesson 2 - Action, Sports or Wildlife Photography
Sports and wildlife are two similar areas of photography that are very popular and often frustrating. Photographing either of these mediums requires the same type of camera set up and shooting technique. First you have to decide whether you want to freeze the action or have some blurriness. Either of these types of images have appeal but we will begin by freezing the action capture movement and detail.
Assignment: Change the camera mode setting to Shutter Priority and set the shutter speed according to the focal length of the lens. Decide if you want to shoot sports or wildlife and find a location. For wildlife, I recommend birds that are flying or about to fly. If you don't have a lot of wildlife in your area, you can practice with your pets running, chasing a Frisbee, etc.

Lesson 3 - Panning an Image
Panning is the technique of following and photographing a moving subject with a shutter speed that is slow enough to cause the background to blur but fast enough to capture the subject. Panning is a powerful technique for sports such as race cars, motorcycles, running or bicycling and it works equally as well with wildlife. Panning can be used to photograph a bird in flight or a cheetah chasing a gazelle.
Assignment: Find a moving subject and practice panning until the images are working. Good subject matter could be local sports activity or birds along a beach or river front. A good way to learn the technique is to photograph moving cars or motorcycles along a road or highway.
Lesson 4 - Use Slow Shutter Speeds for Creative Images
There are many very interesting types of images that can be photographed with slower exposures - fireworks, lightning, moving traffic, moonlight photography, star trails, and moving the camera while the shutter is open come to mind.
Assignment: Use two of the long exposure techniques that are covered in this final lesson to create images that have surprising and pleasing results. Long exposure offers many possibilities to experiment and create fresh, dynamic images so feel free to use your imagination and experiment.

© Doug Steakley 

© Doug Steakley 



  • Digital SLR camera with one or two lenses.
  • Tripod
  • Circular Polarizer Filter (highly recommended).
  • Cable Release (highly recommended).
  • No special image editing software is required but I do recommend Photoshop, Aperture or some image editing program.
  • A basic understanding of the relationship between aperture, ISO settings and exposure times.



What equipment is needed for this course?
You will need a digital SLR camera and a tripod. I use a cable release but you can also set the camera to self-timer mode so you are not touching the camera during long exposures. I also recommend a circular polarizer filter.  

What about lenses - are any special ones required?
I tend to use wide-angle lenses quite a bit and mid-range focal lengths - 35mm to 70mm. A couple of lenses that cover wide-angle up to a short telephoto should be sufficient. 

Do I need to use Photoshop or some other image processing program?
No special image editing program is required for this course. For myself, I prefer Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom.  

What else should I know about this course?
This class is designed to make you comfortable shooting at various shutter speeds and understanding how these varying speeds create very different images of the same scene. It will absolutely increase your photography skills and guide you toward creating stunning images.  

© Doug Steakley 

© Doug Steakley 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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At a Glance
4-Week Short Course
Category: Lighting / Exposure

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
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Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Utila Matzke
member since: 12/1/2009
I want to thank Doug for this exciting class. He is a great teacher and I learned a lot from his classes, his critiques, his comments and advice. I didn't expect the course to be so interesting, it is fascinating what your can do with your cameara's shutter speed.

- 12/9/2012 4:00:50 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Denise Aulie
Denise Aulie
member since: 8/19/2007
There are courses where one learns and then there are courses where one learns and leaps. That is what Creative Use of Shutter Speed did for me. Doug is the finest of instructors. His individualized comments and critiques made you feel that you had a personal tutor cheering you on. I appreciate that he treated every one with focused attention and responded to all submissions in a very timely and thorough manner. A great plus was the atmosphere he created to let us know we could ask any question regarding photography specifically and generally. Besides his own phenomenal photography to compliment the lessons, his step by step explanations were just what was needed to nail each technique down. It was work and it was fun. I really could not ask any more of a course and feel any level of photographer would see a major improvement in his images by taking absorbing all he could from these lessons. I look forward to future learning and leaping in other courses with Doug's over-the-top capable instruction.

- 8/20/2012 4:17:55 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Carmen GUTIERREZ
member since: 10/9/2011
This course has learned me a lot about the possibility with the camera and made me discovered new artistic aspects of the photography. Thank you Doug for your help and your comments. I was also amazed by the quality of the photos presented by my class mates. It is really inspiring. I really recommend this course to others students to open a new door to your photography.

- 4/8/2012 6:53:51 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Stephanie Lewis
Stephanie Lewis
member since: 11/27/2009
This is an outstanding course. The best part of the course is Doug's thorough and constructive feedback. His feedback was very individualized. I have not done much with motion in my photography so this course really broadened my skill set and Doug did a good job of pushing me to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I'd consider taking this course again once I further developed my skills just to get Doug's feedback and another push to stretch even more.

- 11/9/2011 4:30:46 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member John D. Roach
John D. Roach
member since: 11/2/2010
Doug is an excellent instructor and photographer. His website is informative and his way of discussing topics helps you to see it as well as feel it as the art that photography is. I have learned a lot from his lessons and critiques. I highly recommend his course to those who choose to learn more and are will to try new things. I especially appreciate his helpful insights into night photography.

- 9/8/2011 12:06:57 PM

Read all 10 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"Thank you very much for your constructive comments. I have learned a lot from your classes and sincerely appreciate your guidance and sharing in this course!" -Chung Wah Weckherlin, student in Doug's Basic Masks in Photoshop course 

"What a fun class this was! I'm so pleased with my BetterPhoto classes because they challenge and stretch me to learn new skills and experiment with different techniques. Thanks for the feedback on my photos. You give me new and different perspectives so that I can continue applying what we learned in class. Onward and upward!" -Eileen W. Thompson, student in Doug's Basic Masks in Photoshop course 

"If you are looking for an inspirational and fun way to spend four weeks, Doug Steakley can provide that in Photographing Motion! He teaches you exciting and creative ways to photograph motion at all times of day, even under the moonlight. Doug is a pleasure to work with and is willing to answer questions in a prompt manner. I totally enjoyed the course!" -Judi Bailey, student in Doug's previous Photographing Motion course 

"Doug inspires and challenges you to improve at your own level and pace. He's a terrific instructor with a passion and love of photography that is contagious. I appreciated his constructive and thoughtful critiques that were geared to my level of knowledge and equipment. ... I would recommend this class to any one from beginner to pro." -Carol Ann Horn, student in Doug's previous Photographing Motion course 

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