Part 1 of The Magic Triangle of Exposure
This is a biggie. I know lots of you out there have a great camera but always shoot in the automatic setting - that's when the camera works out aperture and shutter speed and you just focus and shoot.
This is great for some situations, say when you are shooting at a family event and you don't want to miss the moment, but..
learn how to use these settings independently, and a whole new world of creativity opens up.
Let's start with aperture
What is aperture or otherwise known as the F-number? (I remember my dad talking about this and I completely glazed over!)
Put simply it's the amount of light you let through the lens which then hits the sensor to make the picture.
What does changing the aperture do?
It changes how much of your image is in focus and how much is blurred.
The aperture (F-numbers) needs to balance with shutter speed to correctly expose the image when your camera is set to aperture priority the shutter speed is adjusted automatically.
This is how I took the photograph above:
TOP TIP: By setting a low number say f5.6 it opens up the lens and lets more light through (large opening small f-number). To compensate your camera will automatically set a faster shutter speed so that the sensor doesn't get flooded with light and over-expose the shot.
This gives you a...
NARROW DEPTH OF FIELD
That's when the subject is in focus and everything in front and behind are blurred, great for photographing objects or people with distracting backgrounds, like the photo above taken at Highclere garden (aka Downton Abbey) and the flowers below-giving a dreamy effect not possible with a high F-number.
Top Tip: lower f-numbers = faster shutter speeds - handy in low-light situations
when you need a fast shutter speed to stop camera shake if you can only hand-hold your camera.
Now, suppose you are shooting landscapes, or scenes where you need everything to be
You achieve this effect by letting in a pin-prick of light by setting the aperture to say F16
(large f-number small opening) or upwards.
Your camera will adjust the shutter speed to let enough light through that tiny hole to properly expose the shot, so this will be a longer shutter speed.
You control your aperture, and the camera looks after the shutter speed.
Not so tricky after all!
Top Tip: those pesky F-numbers are the magic key to changing your aperture
Top Tip: higher f-numbers = longer shutter speeds and may necessitate a tripod or a higher ISO speed. We'll cover ISO soon, subscribe to my mailing list here so you don't miss out!
The shots below illustrate a wide depth of field.
If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe for more tips to improve your photography and please share.
Next time: Creativity by controlling your shutter speed
Found photographing in rain or shine for magazines and the like.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.