A common question I get as a photographer is "how did you do that". Often times, the techniques that photographers use are actually quite simple, it's just the tools needed and the knowing (it's half the battle). One of the more power tools is using shutter speed. Using shutter speed I can freeze motion or I can blur parts of the picture, giving the feel of motion. I'm just going to through up some quick examples, but there are many ways to use shutter speed.
A common question I get asked is how I took a waterfall photograph like the one here.
The blurring of waterfalls in photographs is done often because it's very pretty. It is also a very simple technique. You need only a few things: camera, tripod (those two are must haves, the rest can usually be worked around), filters to darken the exposure, shutter release. If you don't have a shutter release, just use the timer on your camera. If you are in the Pacific NW, then the filters probably are not needed as it's usually cloudy, but in bright sunlight you probably will need them. Set up your tripod, frame your picture, and set your shutter speed to 1-2 seconds. That should cover about 90% of waterfalls and camera settings(or at least it has in my experience). Hit the shutter release and You're done! That's it. That's all there is to it.
Other ways you can use long shutter speed times are photographs of traffic at night. The lights on the vehicles will blur, and you can ghosts the vehicles like in this picture, or with a longer shutter speed, you will only see the lights and no car.
Those are long shutter speeds, short shutter speeds are for freezing motion, such as in this water fountain.
These are just a few of the ways you can use shutter speed and it can be used on photos with no motion to make rooms brighter or darker. Experimentation is always the best way to learn, so grab your tripod and go try a few things!