Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Shutter speed to me is pretty simple, how long the shutter is open. Aperture, is in my opinion, a little more complicated. I'm not very good at explaining things but here is a good tutorial on aperture. Basically, the smaller the number or f-stop the more light enters your camera. So if you are in a low light situation you want a small aperture. However, aperture also controls the depth of field or how much of your picture is in focus. The smaller the f-stop the less amount of space is in focus. Here are 3 Examples...

This one was taken at f8 so as you can see most of the keys are pretty clear

This one was taken at f1.8 so it has a very shallow depth of field where very few keys are in focus.

This one was taken at f3.5 so some of the keys are in focus but a lot of them are not.

Your distance from the subject also comes into play with dof. Here is a dof calculator. You can plug in your information i.e. lens, camera, distance and ap and it will tell you how much of your subject(s) will be in focus. The closer you are to the subject the shallower your dof will be.

Like I said I'm not very good at explaining but if you want to read more about it Pioneer Woman did a 4 part series on Aperture and she has some gorgeous pictures as examples.

Here are some reasons for different apertures:
Large (f16 or higher) for landscape photos or when you want everything in focus
Small - (f2.8 and below) for artistic photos or when you have only one or two people in the photo and want the background blurred.
Med. (f3.5 - f8) When you have larger groups of people and want everyone in focus.

So the assignment with this one is "perspective." Use different apertures in to show perspective and tell why you chose that particular aperture. You can shoot in Av (aperture) mode or manual, whichever you prefer.


Kristen said...

I need to figure out what my camera lets me do. I am intrigued and I want to participate. I think you ARE good at explaining things. Thank you!

Sharon said...

Kristen, what kind of camera do you have? Most cameras have the manual modes on them now. I hope you do participate. I can't wait to see what you get!!

Kristen said...

It's a Kodak EasyShare Z915. Just a point and shoot but it's pretty good for what I need. It does have manual modes but I haven't figured out what I'm doing. I wish it came with a printed manual instead of the online one!

I need to check things, like how to play around with settings for one picture without messing up the default "auto" mode, for when I want quick boring pictures. I thought that was possible but I think I have it all messed up now. When the light is low at all the pictures are horrible. Anyway, I'll start cramming and be back. =o)

Sharon said...

I looked up your camera online... You should just be able to put it in A mode and change your aperture from there. The camera will choose the shutter speed and iso. Your lens however has a variable aperture. So if you are zoomed in at 35mm the lowest your ap will go is f3.5 but if you are zoomed out 350mm the lowest your ap will go is f4.8, keep that in mind when your shooting in A mode.

Your auto mode should be set but if your shooting in low light most cameras would struggle w/o a flash. You camera is choosing the lowest settings it can to allow the most light in which would mean a really low ss, causing your pictures to be really blurry.

Not sure if this helps at all, just thought i would throw it out there just in case :)

Kristen said...

YES! Super helpful! You are so nice to look that up for me. That's exactly what I needed to know and it would have taken me forever to figure it out.

You've done your good deed for the day and I'm excited to start playing. Thank you!