so what does shutter speed do?
shutter speed captures motion. this means that it can either stop the motion completely OR show the movement of an image. just a side note: there is a difference between capturing motion and camera shake. camera shake happens when you're hand-holding your camera, your shutter speed is too slow, and you move ever so slightly. camera shake can be fixed by a tripod or some other stationary device.
if you've been struggling to take successful photos of your super active children, or indoor photos of your favorite basketball team, or other photos where there's a lot of action- your shutter speed is what you'll want to pay the most attention to!
here are some recommended shutter speeds for various activities:
children: 1/250 or faster
sporting events: 1/500 or faster
moving water/water-falls: 1/1000 or faster (usually faster if possible)
birds in flight: 1/1000 or faster
amusement park rides: 1 second, plus or minus
moving water: 4 or more seconds (longer exposures of moving water give it a glassy appearance. it's super cool!)
moving cars at night: 8-10 seconds
night photography: 1 or more seconds
now challenge yourself! go out and shoot something with a specific shutter speed. find things that move and see how you do! and most of all, have fun!