Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photo Tip #8 - Aperture and Depth of Field...

One of the first things I wanted to learn in photography was how I could keep everything in a landscape photo in focus. I also wanted to learn how to "blur" the backgrounds of scenes when I took a portrait. This is all accomplished by learning about the aperture settings on your camera and lenses.

I want to introduce you to an image we'll use in the next few photo tips. It is an image representing aperture.For today, we'll just talk about depth of field. We'll talk about aperture and light in our next photo tip.

For a quick intro to depth of field, setting your aperture to f2 (if you have a lens that can do go this low) will give you a "shallow" depth of field. That means if I'm taking a portrait of someone and I want their face to be in focus, but the background blurred, I'd use a setting like f2. If I'm using this setting, something that is one foot behind my subject will start to blur. Lower numbers like this are great for portraits, but terrible for landscapes, unless you WANT to blur the backgrounds of your landscapes.

90% of the time, I use f10 for my landscape shots. That's because f10 is the sweet spot of my lens for keeping things sharp. I can usually get foreground and background objects in focus with this setting. Use your aperture priority setting on your camera (AV on a Canon), and set it to 10. When you are in AV (aperture priority) your camera will automatically adjust your shutter speed for you.

As a general rule, I always use a tripod when shooting landscapes. At f10 in the early morning or late afternoon...(when lighting is best)...sometimes the shutter will have to stay open too long, so a tripod helps keep my images sharp.

Remember the light metering tip I gave in photo tip #7? You can do the same thing with the AV (aperture priority) setting. Try it out at f10 and see how your camera adjusts your shutter speed.

Have fun with f10 and your landscapes!

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