I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted a Photo Tip Tuesday...but fall is very busy for me with a lot of photo sessions, and all that is going on with my kids. I will have to play catch up on some sessions later, but wanted to share a fun little tip today. This one is for dSLR users. (And some higher end point and shoots are also capable of this!)
How many of you use your dSLR on Auto?!? C'mon now, don't be shy! I know there are many who buy the nice camera, but all those letters and numbers and setting can be very overwhelming. I'm going to teach you my favorite little trick, that will help you have more control over your pictures.
When you shoot in AUTO, you're basically telling your camera that it can take the picture however it wants to--in essence, it looks at the scene and determines what it thinks will take the best picture. Over a few Photo Tip Tuesday's, I will discuss and dissect each part of how to take control of your camera, so that you are telling it to take what you want it to take. But today, I'm going to focus on the aperature or your camera lens.
The aperture is an round opening in your lens. It is often referred to as the f-stop, and you will see it written out as f/1.8 or f/65. I could delve into the whole reasons of whys, but I want to keep this simple, so just know that the smaller the number, the wider the lens opens and the more blur you'll get. The larger the number, the smaller the lens opens up, and you will get more sharpness in your pictures.
Let's take a look at some pictures, shall we? These are not technical in anyway, I just wanted to find a quick subject to show you the importance of this setting!
This first picture was taken on aperture priority mode, in f/2.8. You can see that only the flowers on the very front of the plane are sharp and in focus. Everything else is blurry. In fact, you can hardly tell what is even in the background!
This next picture was taken at f/10. You can start to see some of the details in the background, and most of the flowers are in focus.
Now, this last picture was taken at f/32. Most of the picture is in focus. And most of that background is not a pretty sight!
So, why use aperture priority mode on your camera? Because you can control how much of the picture you want in focus! When you're in this mode, your camera will automatically choose the shutter speed it feels is best to get a good exposure. This puts you in control of one aspect of your camera!
What are some good guidelines of which aperature to use?
For me, I love most of my background out of focus, so I shoot with a wider aperature (smaller number). If I have one person, I will choose f/2.8-f/4. If I have 2-3 people, it will be from f/4-f/5.6. More people than that, I usually choose f/8. If I am shooting a landscape picture, I go anywhere from f/8-f/16, depending on the type of landscape.
When is the best time to use aperture priority mode?
When you subject is relatively still. If your child is sitting still, or just walking, you can use it. Use it for landscapes and buildings. Don't use this setting for sports or other fast-moving objects. We'll get to that one later.
How do I tell my camera to use aperture priority mode?
You should have a dial on the top or back of your camera that has a bunch of letters, like M, P, A, etc. Aperture is usually an A, Av, or AP, depending on the make of your camera.
Those are the basics of Aperture Priority Mode. And this post turned out a little longer than I thought it would. I hope you're not even more confused now. ;)